TO: Mayor and Town Council
FROM: W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager
SUBJECT: Removal of Rumble Strips on the Westbound Travel Lanes of NC 54 Approaching Hamilton Road
DATE: January 26, 2004
The attached resolution would authorize the Manager to remove the rumble strips on the westbound travel lanes of NC 54 approaching Hamilton Road.
We recommend adoption of the attached resolution.
At its September 27, 1999 meeting, the Town Council approved several traffic and pedestrian safety measures (Attachment 1) in the vicinity of the NC 54/Hamilton Road intersection. The improvements were completed in 2003, and included installation of rumble strips on the eastbound and westbound NC 54 approaches to Hamilton Road. The design and placement of the rumble strips is in accordance with State standards as depicted in Attachment 2. The cost of installing the rumble strips on both the eastbound and westbound travel lanes was approximately $8,000.
Subsequently, the Town received a complaint from Mr. Jon Jester, #1 Oakwood Drive, regarding the noise generated by the rumble strips as vehicles passed over them. Mr. Jester’s residence is at the corner of NC 54 and Oakwood Drive, adjacent to the rumble strips installed in the westbound lanes of NC 54. He requested that the Town consider some means of mitigating the noise level which disturbs him and his family day and night.
In response to this complaint, staff from the Engineering and Police Department measured noise levels in the vicinity of the rumble strips on December 9, 2003. The following table summarizes the measured noise levels.
Noise Levels (decibels)
Location Low High Average
1. NC 54 Eastbound, 1st Location 74 81 78
2. NC 54 Eastbound, 2nd Location 74 80 78
3. NC 54 Westbound, 1st Location 81 87 83
4. NC 54 Westbound, 2nd Location
a) Close to Sidewalk 81 89 84
b) Close to the House 69 77 74
General noise levels close to the sidewalk varied from 60 to 77 decibels depending on the type and speed of traffic passing over the rumble strips. These noise levels exceed the generally applicable 60 decibel noise level allowed by the Town’s Noise Ordinance during nighttime hours. Although Section 11-40, Exceptions, of the Town’s Noise Ordinance allows the Town to install safety devices that exceed the generally acceptable Ordinance noise levels, we believe the rumble strips caused significant noise problems for those living near the westbound installation.
The rumble strips on the westbound NC 54 travel lanes are close to several residences, including Mr. Jesters’. We agree with Mr. Jester that the noise from these rumble strips is significant and disruptive in the context of residential quality of life.
Because NC 54 is a State highway, we cannot modify the rumble strips from the State standards in order to diminish noise levels. We have requested and received State approval to remove the rumble strips if that is the Council’s desire. Therefore, we suggest that the Council authorize removal of the rumble strips on the westbound travel lanes of NC 54 approaching Hamilton Road. If approved, Town forces would remove the rumble strips.
We have received no complaints about the rumble strips on eastbound NC 54, adjacent to a commercial area, and we recommend that those rumble strips remain in place.
That the Council adopt the attached resolution authorizing the Manager to remove the rumble strips on the westbound travel lanes of NC 54 approaching Hamilton Road.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE TOWN MANAGER TO REMOVE THE RUMBLE STRIPS ON THE WESTBOUND TRAVEL LANES OF NC 54 APPROACHING HAMILTON ROAD (2004-01-26/R-3)
WHEREAS, the Town has received a complaint from a resident about excessive noise from rumble strips installed on the westbound NC 54 travel lanes approaching Hamilton Road; and
WHEREAS, the Town staff measured noise levels in the vicinity of the rumble strips and found that the measured levels exceeded the allowable levels in the Town’s Noise Ordinance; and
WHEREAS, the Town Council is concerned about the detrimental effects that such noise can have on the quality of life of Town residents;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council authorizes the Manager to remove the rumble strips on the westbound NC 54 travel lanes approaching Hamilton Road.
This the 26th day of January, 2004.