Slow traffic to ascertain need for sound barrier

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By Patricia Max

There has been a great deal of discussion regarding MIG’s proposed roundabout design for NM 502/Trinity Drive. However, another project related to NM 502 that MIG has also been involved in has received very little coverage.
Residents of the Eastern Area have drawn the county’s attention to the increased traffic noise in their neighborhood by asking for the construction of a sound barrier – a wall – to muffle the traffic noise.  
Rather than determining if the decibel level is such that federal regulations would require mitigation, and if that mitigation should be the construction of an 8-foot tall, 1,000-foot long wall, the county council directed MIG to propose a design for a sound wall as the Eastern Area residents requested in their petition.
There is no doubt that there is increased traffic noise along the section of NM 502 between Airport Road and Tewa Loop. The following three factors have contributed to this increase:
•The change in speed limit in the late 1990s on that section of road. Going west the speed limit changes from 50 mph to 40 mph between Airport Road and Tewa Loop and from 40 mph to 35 mph across from East Park Pool.  Prior to this change, the speed limit changed from 50 mph to 35 mph at Airport Road.   

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