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I moved into a new house about a year ago that's located inside a very nice well established neighborhood that's been around for decades. At the end of the neighborhood is a busy highway that has been increasing in use each year as the local population grows. My house is about three blocks away from the highway and so I didn't think (or notice) the sound pollution was so bad. After having been in my house long enough though I notice the highway noise anytime the TV is turned off, while I'm sleeping at night, or when I'm just sitting on my deck outside. It's not so bad that it would prevent me from selling my house (I didn't notice it when I bought the house) but it's definitely something that annoys me when I'm trying to relax outside and look up at the stars or something peaceful.

I'm curious what it would take for me to get the government to build one of those noise barrier walls along the edge of my neighborhood. The distance would only be about half a mile and there are no residential houses on the other side of the highway (so the wall wouldn't be reflecting the noise elsewhere). There's also already about a ten foot clearance between the highway and the neighborhood (parallel). Right now there is a chain-link fence and a few trees lining this space but I think it's plenty big enough for a noise barrier wall. I honestly can't think of a single reason other than cost that would prevent a wall like this from going up.

How can I get the ball rolling on an endeavor such as this? How do I know who to contact? How do I get them to take me seriously? Do I need to get the entire neighborhood to sign a petition? Does the neighborhood have to pay for it? Is it up to the Highway Administration, my Congressman, Senator, or Governor? I live in a relatively rural area so it's not an official city with a mayor or town council or anything like that.

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  • I would start with your local planning board. If you're in the US -- you could call your county clerk and ask where to start, or look at your local government web pages to get some ideas. You can also do some searching through your local newspaper archives to see which local representatives give you a good impression, and start there. – aparente001 Feb 7 '19 at 5:26
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Yes, contact everyone you mentioned and ask them who else you should contact. These projects are prioritized, budgeted and then approved. In order to get to the top of the priority list, you need to find out who makes the list and who determines what is important.

First, find out if it's a state or federal road. They are your target. Contact them and ask for help. They can guide you.

Then, I'd hire a TRAFFIC Engineer to get his advise. He can have a sound test completed. If it's a noise issue, I'd contact your town, or surrounding towns, to see what the ordinances are for noise. Yep, every town has a noise disturbance law. Then see how it compares to your local noise disturbance laws.

Your Traffic Engineer can prepare a cost estimate, which will enable you to get started with the appropriate budget committees.

Also, contact your local government representatives and ask for their help.

This is a long process. I'd guess it will take 2-3 years before you see progress.

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  • In the USA, Interstates are administered by the states and US-placarded roads are in fact state roads (just with a coordinated numbering system). The tiers you're worried about are state DOT vs county (possibly town, but not likely if it's a busy highway). P.S. don't isolate your kids, many soundwalls force children off ad-hoc paths and into miles-long detours to visit friends or local shops, forcing parents to become taxi drivers (and helicopters). – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 27 '17 at 13:38
  • Also a favor: since it's your property value that'll go up, please don't ask me to pay for it. If that is an impediment, then consider more hands-on community ways to get er done, Amish barn-raising style. So much more fulfilling and brings the community together. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 27 '17 at 13:45

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