Timber noise barriers are one of the most common mitigation measures against traffic noise on England’s Strategic Road Network. They are required not only to fulfil their acoustic function and structural design requirements in accordance with Highways Agency specifications, but also to retain their performance for a reasonably long life. The Agency’s technical design guide, HA 66/95, stipulates that noise barriers should remain serviceable for 40 years and not require maintenance for 20 years.
Currently the Agency requires acoustic performance to have been assessed using recognised, standardised laboratory tests (EN 1793-1:1998 and EN 1793-2:1998) as appropriate to the barrier type. However, the Agency’s specifications are only concerned with the performance of the barriers in new condition.
This report presents the results of a study commissioned by the Agency to investigate the acoustic durability of timber noise barriers on the network. This has been achieved through a programme of in situ measurements using recently developed test methods described in the forthcoming standard prEN 1793-6:2010 to determine airborne sound insulation characteristics.
The report also presents results from measurements to assess the impacts of moisture content on screening performance, the influence of panel design/geometry and factors affecting the practical roadside application of the prEN 1793-6 test method.

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