Sound barriers to ease motorway noise
Residents along the M40 in Buckinghamshire and South Oxfordshire will soon benefit from a package of measures to cut traffic noise near their homes.
New noise-reducing barriers will be installed along sections of the motorway in Buckinghamshire and a worn out section of the motorway will be replaced by a new, quieter road surface in South Oxfordshire in September.
Highways England has been working with the M40 Chiltern Environmental Group, Wycombe District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council to develop proposals to reduce noise along the M40 corridor between Loudwater (near junction 3 of the motorway) in Buckinghamshire and Wheatley (near junction 8) in South Oxfordshire.
Noise barriers are planned for sections of the M40 as it passes near High Wycombe, as well as near the Buckinghamshire villages of Lane End, Stokenchurch and Chepping Wycombe.
A 4.3 mile stretch of the M40 in Oxfordshire, between Adwell (near junction 6) and the A40 Oxford spur (at junction 8), is also being resurfaced, which will significantly contribute to reducing noise and improving the quality of life for residents. Work is due to get under way in mid-September and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Highways England project manager Mark Saunders said: “We have been working hard to help residents along the M40 affected by noise. I am delighted to announce that we will be progressing a scheme to install noise barriers at the locations where it will make the most difference, in addition to the low-noise resurfacing work we will shortly be carrying out. We will now carry out the detailed design for each site identified, and will keep people updated as the project progresses.
The noise barrier project originally involved trialling innovative, energy-generating noise barriers mounted with solar panels. However, these types of barriers are not currently suitable for this section of the M40 as Highways England would not be able to use the harnessed electricity. In the future, solar panel barriers may be suitable for use at suitable locations on the road network.
HH the Lord Parmoor, President of the M40 Chilterns Environmental Group, added: “After 12 years of work with Wycombe District Council on behalf of local people, we are really pleased by this substantial step to mitigate noise nuisance for the majority of residents who live close to the M40 between Loudwater and Wheatley. While we are disappointed that we haven’t been able to progress the solar panel barriers, we look forward to working with Highways England on the revised design stage of the noise barriers.”
Further details on the proposed nature and locations of barriers will be announced as design progresses. Subject to successful completion of detailed design and to funding, Highways England aims to begin construction of the noise barriers in summer 2017.