Expressway Noise Continues To Annoy

NZTA not answering the key questions

By Nick Fisher, Expressway Noise Action Group

Beyond the Wharemauku Bridge there is an elevated section close to houses which has no bunds or sound walls to deaden the noise.

Kapiti residents have been told there is little chance of respite from the expressway noise in the medium term.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) have employed two consultants, a PR specialist and a Planner, to field all noise inquiries and are refusing to answer any noise related questions.

Below is a list of action points that NZTA have committed to.

However there is no mention of a commitment to reduce noise, nor an acceptance that there is a problem. If NZTA spent as much on solving the problems as they spend on consultants to tell us we there isn’t a noise problem, there wouldn’t be a problem!

What NZTA plans to do

An email from the NZTA stated they are planning the following:

  • We will provide a low-noise asphalt surface along the section of the expressway that currently has chip-seal surface. This work will be completed in the summer of 2017 / 2018.
  • We are liaising with the trucking industry to implement measures to reduce morning-and-night-time noise disturbance.
  • We will begin monitoring the expressway noise with a specialised noise camera this month to identify individual heavy vehicle operators using engine brakes in areas that may cause disturbance.
  • We are reviewing the requirement of advisory signs to limit engine braking in built up areas.
  • We are reviewing the requirement of / feasibility off additional bridge joint noise mitigation to reduce noise made as vehicles drive over these joints.
  • We are reviewing key areas along the expressway where rumble strips near residences can be removed, without impacting driver safety.
  • Carry out early compliance noise monitoring to verify the effectiveness of existing noise mitigation on predicted noise levels.
  • Set up an independent panel of experts to consider and report back, within the next three months, that we did enough work to meet the NZ Standard 6802, as required under the resource consent.

Not getting answers to reasonable questions

When asked to explain what measures the trucking industry could take, and what is meant by we are reviewing the requirement of, Craig Pitchford from NZTA refused to do so and deflected questions to their new consultants. The consultants, who are not acoustics experts, also could not answer.

They are still not getting it. Taking a further 3 months and hundreds of thousands of dollars to check compliance with the standard, doesn’t reduce the noise.

No-one we have contacted at NZTA or NZ Standards can explain what the purpose of the standard is, and whether this has been achieved.

We don’t care about the standard, we care about our health and our right to a decent night’s sleep. Until NZTA take the problem seriously, we will be taking further direct action.