Province says they’d build a sound attenuation wall only if a road widening project was done.
The Town of Bonnyville is exploring building a fence or wall in order to reduce noise levels for residents along Highway 41, but is saying the provincial government, which looks after highways, should pick up the tab.
Residents living along the highway have been sending in complaints about noise resulting from heavy trucks driving on the road and turning off onto Highway 28 for some time–noise recorded along the stretch of road has been recorded at being anywhere from 65 to as high as 119 decibels.
“We’ve conducted eight tests in the area at different times of the day, and we’re getting readings of 71, 88, 97, so the residents saying that it’s loud are right–it’s loud,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski on The Morning After.
“It’s unacceptable that the province’s response to this is ‘Well, you know what, you can build the fence if you want to, because we’re not.'”
Thirty-one residents have signed a petition in hopes to spur the province into undertaking the project, for which there were only 23 spaces.
In Bonnyville CAO Bill Rogers’ correspondence with the department, there seems to be a clear message–the province isn’t planning on paying for any kind of structure, which the Town estimates could cost up to $100,000.
“I’ve been in contact with the Department of Transportation since May, and what I’ve been told is that they only look at noise reduction projects [also called noise attenuation] when a road widening is undertaken,” said Bonnyville CAO Bill Rogers.
“I have an air photo from 1972 of Highway 41, and it’s a two-lane dirt road. You go look at it right now, there’s traffic lights and it’s paved with four lanes, so at some point there was a widening project.”
According to recent emails, the Department said they will undertake a noise attenuation project within an area with noises recorded being above 65 decibels on average for 24 hours, which is typically found in areas within Edmonton.
“To note though, even if it were that high, we only consider noise attenuation in areas where we are undertaking widening of the road, major realignment of an existing road, or when constructing a new road adjacent to an existing residential development,” said Paula Campbell, Alberta Transportation.
The Town is also currently arguing with the province on overage charges from the regional waterline, which will cost the Town roughly $10 million.
Council passed a motion to write a letter to the provincial government asking for a study on the truck traffic noise.