Noise pollution is increasingly recognized as a serious environmental issue, particularly in urban areas. The tunneling industry, as a significant contributor to construction noise, is beginning to look more closely at ways to minimize its noise impacts on the surrounding community. Two of our mitigation specialists were brought in to discuss steps that can be taken to address some of these issues in the latest issue of the North American Tunneling Journal. You can read the full article here, but here are some of the highlights to consider:

The Importance of Early Planning

  • Addressing noise mitigation early in the project lifecycle is crucial.
  • Early planning helps avoid spatial constraints and installation challenges.
  • Proper consideration at early stages can prevent project delays and stakeholder complaints.

Challenges in Noise Mitigation

  • Limited space in densely populated areas to install mitigation
  • Varying, often vague,  code requirements across projects and cities
  • Compliance standards don’t always address the noise that drives complaints

Common Issues

  • Project bid documents have unclear noise level targets or may specify unfeasible solutions (e.g., sound walls conflicting with existing infrastructure)
  • Density ratings of materials identified in project documents don’t always translate to effective noise reduction
  • Compliance with decibel limits doesn’t address all noise concerns (e.g., intermittent noises, low frequency, etc.)

Improving the Approach

  • Engage acoustic consultants early for thorough evaluations
  • Consider factors beyond regulatory requirements, such as low-frequency and tonal impacts.
  • Shift focus from material specifications to performance criteria.
  • Explore the use of recycled materials over traditional options like plywood.

By prioritizing noise mitigation and adopting a more comprehensive approach, the tunneling industry can better address this critical environmental concern, improving project efficiency and community relations.

Our team of mitigation specialists are available work with you on your next project to help you remain in compliance, avoid potential complaints and reduce your project’s overall environmental impact. Contact us today!