Utah Administrative Code

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R930. Transportation, Preconstruction.

Rule R930-3. Highway Noise Abatement.

As in effect on January 1, 2020

Table of Contents
R930-3-1. Purpose and Authority.

The purpose of this rule is to allow UDOT to address highway noise impacts and to determine the conditions under which noise abatement may be approved. This rule is authorized by the grant of rulemaking authority found in Section 72-6-111. This rule is consistent with the Federal Highway Administration's Procedures for Abatement of Highway Traffic Noise and Construction Noise, 23 CFR 772 (April 1, 2011), which is hereby adopted and incorporated by reference.

R930-3-2. Definitions.

(1) "Existing Noise Level" means the noise level, Leq, resulting from the natural and mechanical sources and human activity, considered to be usually present in a particular area.

(2) "Design Noise Level" means the noise level, Leq, calculated for the worst traffic noise conditions likely to occur on a regular basis using a method approved by FHWA.

(3) "Type I Project" means a highway construction project that is related to an increase in traffic noise - construction of a highway on new location or the physical alteration of an existing highway which substantially changes the alignment or increases the number of through-traffic lanes or the addition of auxiliary lanes or interchange ramps.

(4) "Type II Project" means a proposed highway project strictly for noise abatement on an existing highway.

(5) "UDOT" means Utah Department of Transportation.

(6) "FHWA" means Federal Highway Administration.

(7) "dBA" means decibels of sound expressed or measured using the "A" weighting scale of a sound-pressure level meter.

(8) "Leq" means the equivalent (average) sound level reported in units of dBA.

(9) "AASHTO" means American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

R930-3-3. Applicability.

(1) Type I Projects. Noise abatement shall be considered for Type I projects where noise impacts are identified. A new or proposed subdivision or other development must have a formal building permit before the issuance of the final environmental decision document to be considered for noise abatement.

(2) Type II Projects. UDOT does not provide a noise retrofit (Type II) program to construct noise abatement measures along existing state transportation facilities.

R930-3-4. Noise Impact Determination.

A traffic noise impact occurs, for purposes of this policy, when either of the following conditions exists at a sensitive land use:

(1) The design noise level is greater than or equal to the UDOT Noise Abatement Criterion (NAC) in Table 1 for each corresponding land use category; or

(2) The design noise level substantially exceeds (ten dBA or more) the existing noise level.

R930-3-5. Noise Abatement Objective.

When noise abatement measures are being considered, every reasonable effort shall be made to obtain substantial noise reductions consistent with Department procedures.

R930-3-6. Noise Abatement Conditions.

In order to be considered for noise abatement, all of the following conditions must be met:

(1) Noise abatement shall not be installed where it will create a hazard or violate design standards. Specifically, noise abatement walls shall not be added within the highway clear zone as defined in the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide;

(2) At least seven dBA of noise reduction must be achievable at 35% of front row receptors; and

(3) Noise abatement measures must be cost effective.

(a) For residential areas (Category B, Table 1), Cost effectiveness is based on the cost of abatement divided by the number of benefited receptors. Benefited receptors must be considered in determining a noise barrier's cost per receptor regardless of whether or not they were identified as impacted. A benefited receptor is any impacted or non-impacted receptor that gets a noise reduction of 5 dBA or more as a result of the noise barrier. The maximum cost used to determine reasonableness to provide noise abatement is listed in the Noise Abatement Procedures. This cost may be periodically reviewed by the Department for reasonableness and updated, as needed.

(b) For non-residential areas (Category A, C, D or E, Table 1): Cost effectiveness depends on the height of noise wall required and corresponding length of frontage. In any case, a reasonable cost for noise abatement will not exceed the cost effectiveness criteria listed in the Noise Abatement Procedures section of the UDOT Noise Policy.

R930-3-7. Declaration of Intent.

Environmental study documents will indicate those areas where noise impacts are projected and areas where abatement appears reasonable and feasible. A final decision on the installation of abatement measures will be made after completing final design and the balloting process.

R930-3-8. Public Involvement.

(1) As part of the final design phase of projects, the Department needs to establish whether property owners and residents are in favor of noise abatement measures. This process involves sending ballots to the following groups so they can indicate their preference for or against noise abatement measures:

(a) All benefited receptors (property owners and residents/renters). A benefited receptor is one that would receive a reduction of 5 dBA or more as a result of noise abatement; and

(b) Receptors that border or are directly adjacent to the end of a proposed noise wall that are not, by definition, benefited by the wall.

(2) The number of votes is established as follows:

(a) Owner occupied residences: The owner will have 1 vote.

(b) Rental homes, multi-family residences and apartments: The owner will have 1 vote per unit and the resident/renter will have 1 vote for the unit.

(c) Day care centers, hospitals, libraries, medical facilities, parks, picnic areas, places of worship, playgrounds, public meeting rooms, public or nonprofit institutional structures: The owner will have 1 vote.

(d) Commercial/industrial businesses: The owner will have 1 vote for the unit and, if applicable, the tenant will have 1 vote for the unit.

(e) Mobile home parks: The mobile home owner will have 1 vote. The lot owner, if different than the home owner, will have 1 vote.

(3) Properties owned by UDOT - It is the policy of UDOT to abstain from voting as a receptor and these votes will not be calculated in the denominator of total votes described in assessing ballots.

(4) Assessing ballots - When votes are counted, property owners' votes will receive a multiplier factor of 5 compared to residents (non-owners) factor of 1.

(a) Noise abatement will only be recommended if 75 percent of votes counted, favor noise abatement. The denominator used to calculate this percentage will equal the total number of votes. In addition, at least 75 percent of the total number of completed ballots must be returned to adequately assess if noise abatement measures are desired. If less than 75 percent of ballots are returned after balloting efforts are completed, then noise abatement measures will be deemed not reasonable.

(b) Ballots sent by mail are deemed by the Department as "due diligence" in notifying the affected property owners and residents/renters of possible noise mitigation measures in their area. Ballots will be sent by regular mail to each property owner of record and each residing household/resident. Each ballot will include a deadline for return to the Department. For ballots sent but not received by the deadline, a second ballot will be sent by Registered Mail to those who have not returned a ballot.

(c) If the voting process results in a decision not to construct noise abatement, the area will not be considered for noise abatement unless a future transportation project falls under the guidelines of a Type I Project.

R930-3-9. Coordination with Local Officials.

For Type I Projects, the Department will inform local officials of noise compatible planning concepts and an estimate of future noise levels on undeveloped lands or properties within the project limits.

R930-3-10. Local Government Participation.

In instances where noise abatement has already been deemed feasible and reasonable, a third party such as a local municipality, may contribute funds to make functional or aesthetic enhancements to a noise abatement feature.

R930-3-11. Projects Funded From Other Sources.

The Utah Code authorizes the Department to construct and maintain noise abatement measures along state highways in cases where the cost for the noise abatement is provided by citizens, adjacent property owners, developers, or local governments, and meeting other established criteria. These cases may be treated as a special application of Paragraph R930-3-10, in which the Department may design, build, and maintain the abatement measure, and the local government agency shall pay the Department for all preliminary engineering, construction, and maintenance costs.

R930-3-12. Construction Off Right-of-Way.

Normally, noise walls built pursuant to this rule will be constructed within Department right-of-way and owned and maintained by the Department. There are cases in which Department right-of-way is not the most prudent location for noise barriers, yet noise abatement is still feasible and reasonable if built on adjacent property or adjacent public right-of-way. In these cases:

(1) The Department's cost is limited to normal cost for abatement on Department right-of-way.

(2) In no case shall the Department construct a noise barrier unless the adjacent property owners allow access and easements as necessary in order to construct and maintain the barrier.

                                 TABLE 1- UDOT Noise Abatement Criteria (NAC)
                                    (Hourly A- Weighted Sound Level decibels (dB(A)))

Activity   UDOT         Evaluation    Activity
Category   Criteria(1)  Location      Description
           Leq (h)

A          56          Exterior   Lands on which serenity and
                                  quiet are of extraordinary
                                  significance and serve an
                                  important public need and
                                  where the preservation of
                                  those qualities is essential
                                  if the area is to continue to
                                  serve its intended purpose.

B          66          Exterior   Residential

C          66          Exterior   Active sports areas,
                                  amphitheaters, auditoriums,
                                  campgrounds, cemeteries, day
                                  care centers, hospitals,
                                  libraries, medical facilities,
                                  parks, picnic areas, places of
                                  worship, playgrounds, public
                                  meeting rooms, public or
                                  nonprofit institutional
                                  structures, radio studios,
                                  recording studios, recreation
                                  areas, Section 4(f) sites,
                                  schools, television studios,
                                  trails and trail crossings.

D          51          Interior   Auditoriums, day care centers,
                                  hospitals, libraries, medical
                                  facilities, places of worship,
                                  public meeting rooms, public
                                  or nonprofit institutional
                                  structures, radio studios,
                                  recording studios, schools,
                                  and television studios.

E          71          Exterior   Hotels, motels, offices,
                                  restaurants/bars, and other
                                  developed lands, properties or
                                  activities not included in A-D
                                  or F.

F          No Limit    -          Agriculture, airports, bus
                                  yards, emergency services,
                                  industrial, logging,
                                  maintenance facilities,
                                  manufacturing, mining, rail
                                  yards, retail facilities,
                                  shipyards, utilities (water
                                  resources, water treatment,
                                  electrical), and warehousing.

G          No Limit    -          Undeveloped lands that are not

(1)  Hourly A-weighted sound level in decibels reflecting a
1 dBA "approach" value below 23 CFR 772 values.

transportation, barriers, traffic noise abatement, highways

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

October 10, 2017

Notice of Continuation

October 25, 2016

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

72-1-201; 72-7-101; 72-6-111

Additional Information

For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R930, please contact the promulgating agency (Transportation, Preconstruction). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from https://rules.utah.gov/help-rules-who-to-contact/.