|FHWA Policy Memorandums - Office of Environment and Planning|
ACTION: Highway Traffic Noise Guidance and Policies and Written Noise Policies
|June 12, 1995|
Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator
Attached for your information and use is a copy of "Highway Traffic Noise Policy and Guidance." This is a reissuance of existing guidance on highway traffic noise analysis, completed in response to an audit of the highway traffic noise program by the OIG and by a desire to reduce and consolidate over 130 pages of existing material. In addition, we are reemphasizing the highway traffic noise program and our commitment to environmental excellence. A responsive traffic noise program is important to ensure that residents located adjacent to highways receive appropriate noise abatement.
It is important that States conduct adequate and fully documented traffic noise analyses. The attached document is meant to bring together a wide range of independent guidance material into a single consolidated source. It supersedes the following existing FHWA materials: (1) "Traffic Noise Analysis for Highway Projects Which Add Through-Traffic Lanes" (May 1987); (2) "Type II Projects for Highway Traffic Noise Abatement" (June 1988); (3) "Highway Traffic Noise Analysis and Abatement" (1989); (4) "Highway Traffic Noise: State Highway Agency Policies and Procedures" (April 1989); (5) Discussion Paper: "Appropriate Level of Highway Traffic Noise Analysis for CE, EA/FONSI, and EIS" (June 1989); (6) "Field Review Report: Highway Traffic Noise Impact Identification and Mitigation Decisionmaking" (June 1989); (7) "Highway Traffic Noise Analysis: Reasonableness and Feasibility of Abatement" (May 1992); and (8) "Guidance for Highway Traffic Noise Analysis" (December 1993).
You should note the changes/additions/reiterations to FHWA traffic noise policies which have occurred as a result of OIG recommendations, as shown on the attachment. It is important to point out that there is a change in existing FHWA policy which puts new restrictions on the approval of Type II abatement. In addition, other new policy changes include the following:
Within 1 year from the date of this memorandum, all SHAs must adopt written statewide noise policies that have been approved by FHWA. Regional Administrators are delegated the authority to approve the State policies. This authority may be redelegated to Division Administrators. The policies must demonstrate substantial compliance with the noise regulations, 23 CFR Part 772, as well as with the reissued noise policies and guidance.
Those regions desiring a Washington office review, should send copies of the draft policies to Bob Armstrong in HEP-41 for review and comment before taking an approval action. One copy of each approved policy should also be sent to HEP-41.
Thank you for assistance in this matter. Questions or comments may be directed to Bob Armstrong or Steve Ronning at (202) 366-2073 or (202) 366-2078, respectively.
Original signed by:
Anthony R. Kane
The method used to count residences is important and should be clearly delineated. The number of residences should include all dwelling units, e.g., owner-occupied, rental units, mobile homes, etc. When counting residences to determine reasonableness, all "benefitted" residences should be included, regardless of whether or not they were identified as impacted (each unit in a multi-family building should be counted as one residence in determining both impacts and benefits). A State should define the threshold of noise reduction which determines a "benefitted" residence. This threshold should be within the range of 3-5 dBA.
ATTACHMENTHighway Traffic Noise Analysis and Abatement: Policy and Guidance (362 KB PDF)