Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Curse of Road Noise

Looking south on the M3 at Winchester on an uncharacteristically quiet morning. It normally carries some 130,000 vehicles a day.
Excessive road nose is a curse, and at high levels can contribute to ill health and even heart attacks.
Nevertheless some towns and cities are blighted by almost constant road noise from busy main roads and motorways. For example the noise from the M3 motorway intrudes over much of the lovely city of Winchester and dominates villages bordering it, such as Shawford - hardly surprising considering that it carries some 130,000 vehicles a day.

The gash cut though the back of St Catherine's Hill in 1995, which still hasn't been 'healed' by plant growth almost twenty years later.
It's useless to rehearse the long-running debate over the siting of the motorway, which led to the road planners cutting an appalling gash through the back of St Catherine's Hill instead of making a tunnel through the chalk. This video will remind you of the battles that took place to try and stop it.
St Catherine's Hill from St Cross.  The M3 runs in a deep cutting on the far side. One can no longer hear birdsong when walking on the hill; surely the acid test of whether an area is polluted by noise
But what is indefensible today is that that road nose from the surface of the road is much higher than it needs to be. One has only to drive on the A34 Newbury by-pass to find a road surface that is much quieter - and that road runs through farmland and woodland with the town some distance away.

PS: In February 2015, the Highways Agency and/ or the Hampshire County Council have finally resurfaced the M3 around Winchester, with the result that the noise from the motorway obtrudes far less on the City and the surrounding villages. What took them so long?

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