BONNYVILLE – Residents living along Hwy. 41 in Bonnyville have petitioned for something to be done about the noise caused by heavy trucks.
“They’ve asked that a wall or soundproofing fence or something like that is put along the border of Hwy. 41,” CAO Bill Rogers told council during a special meeting on July 23.
Council passed a motion to write a letter to the provincial government requesting they conduct a study on the noise levels in the area, and build a structure to reduce the sound coming off the highway.
Rogers said he has been in contact with representatives from Alberta Transportation, who told him they only consider a project like that if the average decibels are 65 or greater over an average weighted 24-hour period.
“We didn’t have the ability to do an average 24-hour weighted coastal reading, but what we did have was a community peace officer with a decibel meter going out at various times over a two-week period,” Rogers explained. “There was only one time that it was less than 65 decibels and it was 64 decibels at the time. The readings averaged from 65 decibels up to a high of 119 decibels.”
Alberta Transportation also told the town that they only undertake projects to lessen noise when a road is being widened, there's a major realignment of an existing road, or when construction on a new road adjacent to an existing residential development occurs. Rogers responded by noting that the stretch of road had been widened by the province, but a noise structure wasn’t completed at that time.
“Our position is we’re getting stalling answers from the department of transportation on this, and they probably should have looked at this and they flat out didn’t think to do the road widening construction several years ago. As a result, we have, what looks to us, to be valid concerns from residents,” Rogers stressed.
The option of the town discussing the project with a development and planning technologist from Alberta Transportation to build a structure themselves was another suggestion.
Coun. Elisa Brosseau said getting the province to come do a study on the noise levels to their standards should be the first step.
“If we can at least get some sort of assessment or study done where they say they want an average out of 24 hours, let’s get them to go out, do that study, and get that information. If they’re willing to do it, then at some point maybe later on in the future when we get some information from them, maybe we do need to take matters into our own hands.”
Coun. Ray Prevost added he “feels sorry for these people.”
“They’re not making this up, this is a real (issue),” he exclaimed. “We’re not going to get any help with it, from what I can see, and if we lobby the government the chances are we’re going to be lobbying for a long time.”
When speaking with the residents who live along Hwy. 41, Rogers stressed a decision could take a while and said “they’re willing to bear with the town on it.”