Date of Award

Spring 1974

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Sinha, Kumares


The use of earth berms as a method of attenuating highway noise pollution into adjacent residential neighborhoods has become more prevalent throughout the country. In the summer of 1972 the Wisconsin Division of Highways constructed their first sound attenuation earth berms along I-94 in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties. The purpose of this paper is to not only assess the measured and calculated attenuations obtained from the sound berms but also to assess the perceived effects of the berms on the adjacent residential neighborhoods by means of an attitudinal survey. In addition, the measured attitudinal survey and general recommendations are made as to the future use of sound barriers. Simultaneous sound level readings were taken at four points along sound sample lines located across the alignments of all proposed sound berms. The points were located in front of the future berm, at the right-of-way fence, and at two varying distances from the fence. The sound readings were taken before and after the construction of the berms. The attenuations attributed to the berms were computed as the differences in attenuations observed between the point in front of the berm and all the other points along the sound sample lines. It was found that the berms resulted in median sound level attenuations of 5 dBA at the right-of-way line and 3 dBA at a distance corresponding to the front sidewalk at the homes alone the freeway. The same attenuations calculated on the basis of the standard procedure discussed in the NCHRP Report No. 117 generally matched the measure values...



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