Noise Abatement Programs

MassDOT’s mission is to provide the highest quality customer service to residents and visitors, with a focus on safety and efficiency. The noise generated by traffic throughout the state is of concern to us as well.

Loud traffic noise can be annoying, but it can also interfere with everyday activities like sleeping, having a conversation, or just relaxing.

MassDOT's goal is high-quality customer service. So our policies for noise reduction – or “noise abatement” – meet all state guidelines and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations (23 CFR 772).

Every MassDOT noise abatement plan begins with three questions:

  • What effect will the noise have on the surrounding area?
  • What noise abatement methods are possible?
  • What noise abatement methods are cost effective?

To make sure we spend taxpayers’ dollars wisely on safety programs across the state, we use MassDOT and FHWA criteria to measure a project’s cost effectiveness. If enough people will receive a high enough benefit for the cost of the construction of noise abatement, the project is approved.

    Types of noise abatement programs

    MassDOT uses two types of noise abatement programs:

    • Type 1 Noise Abatement reduces noise from construction projects such as building or repairing highways, adding or moving lanes or ramps, or building weigh stations or rest stops.
    • The Type II Noise Abatement program is an optional State effort to reduce the noise of interstate highways. We do this by building noise barriers along existing interstate highways, as funding allows. MassDOT completed a statewide study of areas most affected by noise from traffic along interstate highways. This study established a priority list ranking the 53 locations most affected by highway noise. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA) completed a similar study of neighborhoods along I-90. This study produced a list of 17 priority sites. Following its merger with MTA, MassDOT will administer both priority lists moving forward. We will examine the locations on both lists to determine the feasibility and reasonableness of future Type II barriers.

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