Why build a noise barrier?
Traffic noise along I-94 in St. Paul exceeds the state's noise standards. We've conducted a noise study and concluded that adding noise barriers along I-94 and Mounds Blvd would reduce noise for properties adjacent to this area by at least five (5) decibels. The most efficient, possible locations for noise barriers have been identified and we have worked closely with community representatives to refine the proposed locations.
Studies have shown that changes in noise levels of less than three (3) decibels are not typically detectable by the average human ear. An increase of five (5) decibels is generally noticeable by anyone, and a 10 decibel increase is usually felt to be "twice as loud."
Why may I have received a letter about the noise barriers?
If you have received a letter, that means that your property, unit or business would experience a noise level reduction of at least five (5) decibels from the proposed noise barriers and you are able to vote to determine whether a noise barrier should or shouldn't be constructed in your area.
Properties that would benefit from proposed noise barriers are highlighted in the proposed noise barriers document.
How does voting work?
You are only able to vote for or against the noise barrier that benefits your property, unit or business. A weighted voting system will make sure residents and owners are given appropriate influence on the outcome based on how much their property/unit is impacted by the noise barriers and whether or not they own the property/unit.
If a property/unit is immediately adjacent to I-94 and Mounds Blvd:
- Resident receives a 2 point vote
- Owner receives a 4 point vote
- Total of 6 points voted
If a property/unit is not immediately adjacent to I-94 and Mounds Blvd:
- Resident receives a 1 point vote
- Owner receives a 2 point vote
- Total of 3 points voted
Only units in apartments/multi-family residential buildings that are benefited receive a vote. Businesses, churches and schools receive owner votes.
For each proposed noise barrier, more than 50 percent of all possible voting points (not just those that reply) must vote "not in favor" of the noise barrier to exclude it from the project. Because the voter-approved noise barriers are planned to be built as part of the larger I-94 reconstruction project barriers voted down will not be reconsidered for this project.
When would noise barriers go up?
The noise barriers would be built as part of the overall construction of the I-94 project, which is anticipated to begin as early as 2016.
What would the noise barriers look like?
The noise barriers proposed would be 20-foot-tall barriers built with wood planks and concrete posts.
- View from Conway Street looking west towards downtown St. Paul if noise wall were in place (PDF)
- View from Bates Avenue/Hudson Road looking southwest if noise wall were in place (PDF)