Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dunwoody & Brookhaven still have questions on proposed 285 express lane environmental impacts to residents. @GADeptofTrans

The AJC publicized an article regarding a meeting in Dunwoody to discuss the proposed express lanes along 285 but I believe the Dunwoody Homeowners Association has changed that meeting date and the article is now incorrect.  I tweeted to the AJC and others trying to correct the article and let the Georgia Department of Transportation know that the community still has questions and concerns.

"The details of the Dunwoody meeting seem to be incorrect as @DunwoodyHOA moved to another date and not sure @GADeptofTrans is included? @DunwoodyGA needs NEPA, Noise & other answers from GDOT & @USDOTFHWA"

The various express lane projects being proposed around the state are typically away from residential properties except in specific locations along 285 and the top tend project between Chamblee Dunwoody & Ashford Dunwoody will have noise and other environmental impacts on both sides of the interstate affecting both Dunwoody & Brookhaven residents.

The Dunwoody City Council met with GDOT in October and I requested all of the Environmental and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) studies for which mitigation would be needed but to date that has not been provided.  When I get the information, I will publish the full report.


Federal Highway Traffic Noise Laws

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the agency responsible for administering the Federal-aid highway program in accordance with Federal statutes and regulations. The FHWA developed the noise regulations as required by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-605, 84 Stat. 1713). The regulation, 23 CFR 772 Procedures for Abatement of Highway Traffic Noise and Construction Noise, applies to highway construction projects where a State department of transportation has requested Federal funding for participation in the project. The regulation requires the highway agency to investigate traffic noise impacts in areas adjacent to federally-aided highways for proposed construction of a highway on a new location or the reconstruction of an existing highway to either significantly change the horizontal or vertical alignment or increase the number of through-traffic lanes. If the highway agency identifies impacts, it must consider abatement. The highway agency must incorporate all feasible and reasonable noise abatement into the project design.

Highway Project Noise Mitigation

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 provides broad authority and responsibility for evaluating and mitigating adverse environmental effects including highway traffic noise. The NEPA directs the Federal government to use all practical means and measures to promote the general welfare and foster a healthy environment.

Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 is an important Federal legislation, which specifically involves abatement of highway traffic noise. This law mandates FHWA to develop noise standards for mitigating highway traffic noise.

The law requires promulgation of traffic noise-level criteria for various land use activities and further provides that FHWA cannot approve the plans and specifications for a federally aided highway project unless the project includes adequate noise abatement measures to comply with the standards. The FHWA has developed and implemented regulations for the mitigation of highway traffic noise in federal-aid highway projects.

The FHWA regulations for mitigation of highway traffic noise in the planning and design of federally aided highways are contained in Title 23 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations Part 772. The regulations require the following during the planning and design of a highway project:
  1. Identification of traffic noise impacts; examination of potential mitigation measures;
  2. The incorporation of reasonable and feasible noise mitigation measures into the highway project; and
  3. Coordination with local officials to provide helpful information on compatible land use planning and control.
The regulations contain noise abatement criteria, which represent the upper limit of acceptable highway traffic noise for different types of land uses and human activities. The regulations do not require meeting the abatement criteria in every instance. Rather, they require highway agencies make every reasonable and feasible effort to provide noise mitigation when the criteria are approached or exceeded. Compliance with the noise regulations is a prerequisite for the granting of Federal-aid highway funds for construction or reconstruction of a highway.

1 comment:

Adrienne Duncan said...

The tentative plan is to move the meeting to the same time/place on February 10. The GDOT reps have confirmed. However, we are still waiting on a confirmation of the room reservation from the City. We're confident that this will go ahead but we don't want to announce an official change until that room is confirmed. Numerous emails and a phone call this morning are pending.

It's OK to reach out directly with questions via email or phone. We don't always have time to check in on blogs. ;-)