CUTS

NOISE BARRIER DESIGN GUIDELINES

Part 4: Conclusions and Bibliography and Appendicies

Other parts of the report

Part 1: Table of Contents, Introduction and Background

Part 2: Noise Barrier Design Principles

Part 3: Design Prototypes

Final Report, July, 1990
Prepared by Julie Farnham and Edward Beimborn
Center for Urban Transportation Studies
University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201

Sound good/look good.

Conclusions

This report has been developed to provide information and tools that can be used to enhance the visual and aesthetic quality of freeway noise barriers. Noise barriers can be effective in reducing unwanted sound from highway sources in residential neighborhoods. However, they also can have a substantial effect on the visual environment of a highway and surrounding neighborhoods. They can significantly change the view from the road creating monolithic tunnels of walls and by blocking views of changing urban scenery. They can also change the view towards the road for the surrounding community by creating barriers to other areas and developing a sense of isolation. What is needed is a way to provide the benefits of sound reduction from noise barriers while at the same time creating a positive visual image for road users and the surrounding communities. This report provides suggestions as to how this can be done.

Key Concepts

An attractive and efficient system for freeway noise control can be developed if the following principles are followed.

Diversity: Variety in the placement, materials, texture and landscaping can enhance the aesthetic characteristics of noise barriers. Urban landscapes are diverse mixtures of buildings, plants, streets and sidewalks; there should be no hesitancy to incorporate this diversity into noise barriers.

Integrate Barriers and Landscaping: Noise barriers and landscaping should be viewed as an integrated, complementary system. Choices of materials, textures, profile, and location should be done in such a way that the various elements fit together into an integrated whole. A balance should be struck between wall decoration and landscaping so that they do not conflict or complete with each other.

Reflect Neighborhood Characteristics: The physical, cultural and historical characteristics of urban neighborhoods should be incorporated into the design of noise barrier/landscaping systems. Noise barriers should reflect the basic land uses and the heritage of the areas through which the highways pass. Noise barrier design should include efforts to understand urban areas through careful inventories of physical, visual, cultural, ethnic, historical, and land use characteristics of different neighborhoods. These factors should be used to shape design themes as well as details. Specific views should be reinforced and enhanced. Gateways should be identified and accentuated.

Options: Decisions about barriers and landscaping should be made in consultation with neighborhood groups, elected officials and others. A broad range of options should be provided including materials, profile, and configuration of barriers and type, location and configuration of landscaping. Tradeoffs should be provided between wall materials and landscaping so that an acceptable balance can be reached.

Creative Process: Finally, a process should be used which maximizes the opportunity for creative design of noise barrier/landscaping systems. This process would include careful inventories of neighborhood characteristics, selection of design themes, preparation of alternative designs, community involvement, and selection of designs that balance the various tradeoffs of cost, aesthetics and noise reduction. Through such a process systems can be developed that enhance the quality of the environment that is seen as well as heard along freeways.

Sound good/look good.

Bibliography

We would like to thank members of the TRB Noise Committee who supplied information for this study through correspondence of noise barrier design in Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Maryland, California and other states.

Blum, Randolph F., A Guide to Visual Quality in Noise Barrier Design, Implementation Package 77-12, U. S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, December, 1976.

Fichier D'Écrams Acoustiques, Center D'Études des Transports Urbains, March, 1987.

Gurda, John, Discover Milwaukee Catalog, City of Milwaukee, Department of City Development, 1986, reprinted 1988.

Keegan, Kent Mitchell, The Integration of the Highway and Landform, Center for Architectural and Urban Planning Research, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, 1989.

Minnesota Department of Highways, Office of Environmental Services, Metro Noise Abatement Program, February, 1976.

Ritzer, James, "The What and Why of Natural Roadsides," in Public Works, March, 1990, pp. 49-53.

Roadside Design Guide, Chapter 3: Roadside Topography and Drainage Features; American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Inc., Washington, D. C., 1989.

Springer, Michael, "Vegetative Lärmschutzwand aus Weidenflechtwerk" ("Vegetative Noise Barriers from Willowtwigs"), Neue Landschaft, Fachzeitschrift für Garten-, Landschafts-, Spiel- und Sportplatzbau, Patzer Verlag GmbH u. Co. KG, Hannover, Berlin, West Germany, June, 1987, pp. 287-389.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Chapter Trans 405, Register, August 1989, No. 404, pp. 562-565, 562-567.

, Facilities Development Manual; Procedure 11-15-1, January 31, 1990.

, Maintenance Manual, Supplemental Policy 11.01, October 1, 1988.

A: Noise Barrier Materials

B: Plant Materials

C: Landscape Cost Comparisons

D: Ethnic Neighborhood Descriptions

E: Freeway Noise Barrier Site Inventory Analysis Checklist



APPENDIX A: NOISE BARRIER MATERIAL COSTS

Average Cost Comparisons for Three Common Barrier Materials

Unit Costs*
Material $/mile $/LF $/SF $ per Abutting Unit**
Metal 1,278,964 242 13.54 14,329-37,034
Wood 1,916,852 363 19.72 62,733
Concrete 2,119,624 401 21.58 22,604-35,294


* Figures represent costs for 1984 projects in Milwaukee County in 1988 dollars. All costs include 15% Engineering and Contingencies.

** Figures from 1984 projects. Cost difference for same material partially due to density of abutting development. Higher densities yield lower costs per abutting unit.

*** Costs for "retrofit" barriers are from 20 to 30 percent greater than "new" barriers due to incidental and miscellaneous quantities, including traffic control; removals; excavation and finishing; drainage, lighting and sign modifications; and access restricting.


Commonly available surface textures on precast concrete panels:

- rough grooved - stucco

- applied stone - rough raked

- brick and post - cast cedar siding

- cast barn wood - brick

- grape stakes


Source: WDOT District 2.





Deciduous Trees
Design Attributes Character Potential Use


Plant Name


Form*


Flowers
Fall

Color

Winter

Color



Formal


Informal


General


Accent


Massing


Screen
Norway Maple

(Acer platanoides)

R X yellow X X X
European Horsechestnut

(Aesculus hippocastanum)

R X X X
Cockspur Hawthorn

(Crataegus crus-galli)

R X X X X
Russian Olive

(Elaegnus angustafolia)

R/I X X X X
White Ash

(Fraxinus americana)

O purple/yellow
Green Ash

(Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

O yellow X X X
Honeylocust

(Gleditsia triacanthos)

I X X X X
Poplar (variety)

(Populus spp.)

C X X X X
White Oak

(Quercus alba)

R/I X X X X X
Bur Oak

(Quercus macrocarpa)

R/I X X
Black Locust

(Robina pseudoacacia)

Golden Weeping Willow

(Salix alba 'Trista')

W yellow
Tamarack (variety)

(Tamarix spp.)

P yellow




Evergreen Trees
Character Potential Use


Plant Name


Form*


Formal


Informal


General


Accent


Massing


Screen
Eastern Red Cedar

(Juniperus virginiaua)

C/P X X X X
Black Hills Spruce

(Picea glauce 'Densata')

P X X X
Colorado Blue Spruce

(Picea pungens 'Glauca')

P X X X
Mugho Pine

(Pinus mugho)

R/I X X X X
Austrian Pine

(Pinus nigra)

I X X




Deciduous Shrubs
Design Attributes Character Potential Use


Plant Name


Form*


Flowers
Fall

Color

Winter

Color



Formal


Informal


Accent
Hedge/

Screen



Massing
Ground

Cover

Siberian Peashrub

(Caragana arborescens)

E/R X X X X X
Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle

(Dierville lonicera)

M X X X X X
Mockorange

(Philadelpus spp.)

R/O X X X X X
Jackman Potentilla

(Potentilla fruiticosa 'Jackman')

M X X X X X
Buckthorn (variety)

(Rhamnus spp.)

E/R X X X
Fragrant Sumac

(Rhus aromatica)

M X X
Smooth Sumac

(Rhus glabra)

U/F X X X
Staghorn Sumac

(Rhus typhina)

U/F X X X
Alpine Currant

(Ribes alpinum)

E/R X X X X
Rugosa Rose

(Rosa rugosa)

M X X X X X
Buffaloberry

(Sheperdia argentea)

R X X X
Snowberry

(Symphoricarpos alba)

R X




Evergreen Shrubs
Design Attributes Character Potential Use


Plant Name


Form*
Winter

Color



Formal


Informal


Accent


Soften


Massing
Ground

Cover

Pfitzer Juniper

(Juniperus chinensis 'Pfitzerana')

H X X X X
Hughe's Juniper

(Juniperus horizontalis 'Hughes')

H X X X X






Vines and Ground Covers Design Attributes Character


Plant Name


Flowers
Fall

Color

Winter

Color



Formal


Informal
Crown Vetch

(Coronilla varia)

X X
Virginia Creeper

(Parthenosis quinquefolia)

X X
Fleeceflower

(Polygonium reynoutria)

X X


Native Grasses Design Attributes Habitat**


Plant Name


Color


Bloom


Height


Wet


WM


Mesic


DM


Dry
Little Bluestem

(Andropogon scoparius)

copper July 2 ft. X X X
Side-oats Grama

(Bouteloua curtipendula)

orange July 2 ft. X X
Blue Grama Grass*

(Bouteloua gracillis)

white July 3-6 in. X X
Buffalo Grass*

(Buchloe datyloides)

yellow July 6 in. X X
Canada Wild Rye*

(Elymus canadensis)

straw September 4 ft. X X
Indiangrass

(Sorghastrum mutans)

straw August 4-5 ft. X X X
Prairie Cordgrass

(Spartina pectinata)

straw August 4-5 ft. X X


Prairie Plants:

Wild Flowers

Design Attributes Habitat


Plant Name


Color


Bloom


Height


Wet


WM


Mesic


DM


Dry
Heath Aster

(Aster ericoides)

white September 2-3 ft. X X
Prairie Bushclover

(Lespeseza capitata)

white August 3 ft. X X X
Lupine

(Lupine perennis)

blue May 2 ft.
Bergamot

(Monorda fistulosa)

pink June 2 ft. X X
Purple Prairie Clover

(Petalostemum purpureum)

magenta July 2 ft. X X X
Black Eyed Susan

(Rudbeckia hirta)

yellow June 1-2 ft. X X X
Spiderwort

(Tradescantia ohiensis)

blue June 2 ft. X X X
Leadplant

(Amorpha canescens)

violet June 3 ft. X X
Thimbleweed

(Anemone cylindrica)

white May 12 in. X X X
Canada Anemone

(Anemone canadensis)

white May 6-12 in. X X
Swamp Milkweed

(Asclepias incarnata)

red June 2-3 ft. X X
Butterfly Milkweed

(Asclepias tuberosa)

orange June 2-3 ft. X X X
Sky Blue Aster

(Aster azureus)

blue September 2 ft. X X X
Smooth Aster

(Aster laevis)

blue August 2-3 ft. X X X
Stiff Coreopsis

(Coreopsis palmata)

yellow July 2-3 ft. X X X
Pale Purple Coneflower

(Echinacae pallida)

magenta June 2-3 ft. X X
Flowering Spurge

(Euphorbia corollata)

white July 2 ft. X X
Western Sunflower

(Helianthus occidentalis)

yellow July 2 ft. X X X
Rough Blazingstar

(Liatrus aspera)

magenta August 2 ft. X X
White Prairie Clover

(Petalostemum candidum)

white June 2 ft. X X
Dotted Mint

(Monarda punctata)

pink May 1 ft. X X X
Smooth Beardstongue Foxglove

(Penstemon digitalis)

white June 3-4 ft. X X
Large Beardstongue

(Penstemon grandiflorus)

lavender May 2 ft. X X
Meadow Rose

(Rosa carolina)

pink May 18 in. X X
Grayheaded Coneflower

(Ratibida pinnata)

yellow July 3 ft. X X X
Sweet Black Eyed Susan

(Rudbickia subtomentosa)

yellow August 4-5 ft. X X
Gray Goldenrod

(Solidago nemoralis)

yellow August 1-2 ft. X X
Stiff Goldenrod

(Solidago rigida)

yellow August 3 ft. X X
Showy Goldenrod

(Solidago spectosa)

yellow August 3 ft. X X
Joe-Pye-Weed

(Eupatorium purpurelm)

purple August 6 ft. X X
Wild Iris

(Iris shrevei)

violet June 2-3 ft. X X
Ironweed

(Verononia fasciculata)

red July 2-5 ft. X X


Sources: WDOT Project 1161-06-62, USH 51 Columbia--Portage County Line; Prairie Seed Catalog, Prairie Seed Source, North Lake, Wisconsin; Native Wildflowers, Grasses, Plants and Seeds, Prairie Nursery, Westfield, Wisconsin.

Appendix C: Relative Cost Comparison for Landscape Treatment Combined with Barrier Material.


Barrier Material*
Landscape Treatment** Metal Wood Concrete
Limited (1) Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.00

.05


1.05
Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.50

.05


1.55
Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.66

.05


1.71
Average (2) Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.00

.08


1.08
Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.50

.08


1.58
Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.66

.08


1.74
Extensive (3) Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.00

.22


1.22
Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.50

.22


1.72
Barrier

Landscape

Total

1.66

.22


1.88


Notes:

Multipliers are given using least expensive noise abatement, metal wall alone, as base. Base = 1.0. These estimates are approximate. Actual costs will depend upon the exact nature of the design, site conditions and maintenance concerns.

* Costs for barrier materials based on average unit cost ($/linear foot) from Appendix A.

** Landscape treatment cost based on landscaping along 100 linear feet of barrier and extending 15' into R.O.W. from barrier.

(1) Limited landscaping includes a continuous, single row hedge planted along barrier wall with remainder of landscape area (15' x 100') seeded with wild flower/grass mixture.

(2) Average landscaping includes a multi-row/mass planting of shrubs of various heights and occasional overstory trees (i.e. 3 per 100 linear feet). Remainder of landscape area (10' x 100') seeded with wild flower/grass mixture.

(3) Extensive landscaping includes 3' retaining wall extending partial length of barrier segment (i.e. 40'-50'); multi-row/mass planting of shrubs of various heights and occasional ornamental trees (i.e. 3 per 100 linear feet). Remainder of landscape area (10' x 100') seeded with wild flower/grass mixture.

APPENDIX D


ETHNIC NEIGHBORHOOD DESCRIPTIONS




The following information was derived from the Discover Milwaukee Catalog and the neighborhood poster series, both published by the City Department of City Development. Map 2 references the location of the neighborhoods identified below by the numbers in parenthesis.

Near North Side (Harambee (1) and North Division (2))

This area was initially settled by Germans. Other ethnic groups represented include Polish, Dutch, Jewish, and Black. After WWII the Black population grew steadily, outnumbering the Germans by 1960. Today this area has become one of the most integrated sections of Milwaukee.

* This neighborhood was home to Borchert Field. Built in 1902, Borchert Field functioned as Milwaukee's major sports stadium until the construction of County Stadium in the early 1950's made it obsolete. It was located on 8th and Chambers, directly int he path of the I-43 freeway corridor. In 1952 the site was cleared for freeway construction.

Far Northwest Side (Old Town of Granville)

Until the 1950's Granville was a major center for dairying and truck farming. The area was predominantly German, but many Irish also settled there. Today the area remains a mix of rural farmland, large lot old suburban, and newer, higher density suburban development.

* The interchange at Mill Road and Highway 45 is the site of old West Granville's "downtown".

West Side (The Valley (4); Merrill Park (5); Marquette (6))

The area just west of downtown contains a mix of social classes and ethnicity. Many of the very wealthy families built large homes along Grand Avenue (Wisconsin Avenue) while members of the working class tended to locate directly to the west, toward the Menomonee Valley.

In 1880, Sherburn S. Merrill located his railroad shops in the Menomonee Valley. The railroad industry soon grew to be the largest employer in Milwaukee. Workers came from many ethnic backgrounds, but the Irish clearly dominated the working class Merrill Park neighborhood. In the Valley, sometimes referred to as "Pigsville", livestock farming and slaughterhouses provided much of the local employment. This neighborhood was physically removed from areas on top of the bluff, resulting in the creation of an isolated and independent neighborhood dominated by Germans and Slovaks.

Far West Side (Story Hill (3))

The area west of the Menomonee River began to develop in the late 1920's as access was provided by the Interurban Railway. The area didn't experience rapid development until after WWII when demand for suburban development was very high. As such, this area is characterized as a post-WWII suburb.

Near South Side (Walker's Point (9); Historic South Side (10))

The neighborhood just south of downtown exhibit a small scale, solid urban residential character. This character is reflected in the small scale of the numerous neighborhood businesses, e.g. corner stores, taverns and restaurants. There are few tall buildings and the skyline is distinguished by a profusion of church spires.

Industry became increasingly important in the area after the Civil War. Proximity to Lake Michigan and the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers gave this area strategic advantages. The Allen-Bradley clock tower remains both a neighborhood and city recognized landmark.

Walker's Point is recognized as Milwaukee's oldest neighborhood. It has always existed as an ethnically mixed neighborhood. Many Polish families initially settled here and are responsible for the construction of many of the prominent churches. A sizeable influx of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans since the 1940's has resulted in Walker's Point becoming the center of Wisconsin's largest Hispanic community.

The Historic South Side is less ethnically mixed than Walker's Point, being predominantly Polish. Likewise, many visually prominent churches were built in this neighborhood, notably St. Josaphat Basilica.

South East Side (Bayview (11) and Tippecanoe (13))

Bayview began as a company town. The Milwaukee Iron Company, and iron and steel rolling mill, was opened by Eber Ward in 1868. Because of the need for skilled metal workers, many were imported from Great Britain. This area developed as the most distinct British community in Milwaukee.

Tippecanoe was settled by farmers. The extension of streetcar service to the area in the 1890's spurred some development. John Saveland, who owned large tracts of land in the area, had planned on developing the area as an upper income suburban residential community. However, his plans never materialized and the area became populated with mostly blue-collar workers. The name Tippecanoe is derived from a Republican party rally call and was chosen by Saveland, an outspoken local Republican.

Far South Side (Morgandale (12))

This area consisted of productive farmland, woodland, and wetlands. Truck farming and greenhouses, many specializing in flowers, became the livelihood for the predominantly German and Polish settlers.

Mitchell Airport was developed on wet and marshy land. Construction began in 1926. Today the area is a mix of old and new suburban development. Much of the area south of College Avenue has remained in low density development, retaining much of its original rural/farm character.



APPENDIX E


FREEWAY NOISE BARRIER SITE INVENTORY ANALYSIS CHECKLIST




A. Barrier Location

Hwy.


between
and
Side of roadway: north/south/east/west

predominant sun exposure: front/back/side

entry/exit ramp

width:


material:

B. Predominant Land Use:


C. General Context: Urban/Rural/Suburban

D. Specific Context

1. Neighborhood Character

- old/new; homogeneous/diverse; describe:


- density: high/medium/low; describe:
- predominant building materials (color, texture, etc.):

- predominant landscape materials:

- existing nearby barriers? no/yes; describe:

- existing nearby structures (bridges, retaining walls):

- significant views? no/yes; good/bad; describe:

- significant landscape/neighborhood features? no/yes; describe:

- location of barrier relative to housing (across street; at end of street; in back yard):

2. Barrier Site (R.O.W.)

- highway elevation: cut/fill/at grade:


- available space (r.o.w. width):
- existing topography:
- existing landscape materials and condition:
E. Historical/Cultural Significance

- ethnic heritage:


- historic activity:
- industrial base:
F. Other Significant Characteristics or Issues: