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Contacts

For more information about Quieter Pavements at WSDOT, please contact:

Tom Baker , State Materials Engineer

Jeff Uhlmeyer , State Pavement Engineer

Tim Sexton , Noise Policy Manager

Travis Phelps , WSDOT Communications

State Materials Laboratory
1655 S 2nd Ave
Tumwater, WA
98512-6951

Page maintained by:
Shannon Huber

Pavement Grinding

Open-graded asphalt pavements, like those used on I-5, SR 520 and I-405 have been consistently measured as the “quietest” pavements in other parts of the world. Unfortunately open-graded asphalt pavements perform poorly when they are exposed to vehicles using studded tires. WSDOT is investigating the following pavement grinding options to reduce the noise from older concrete pavements.

  • Next Generation Concrete Surface (NGCS) is a new grinding method that has produced the quietest concrete pavements in other states.
  • Conventional diamond grinding (CDG) reduces noise from older concrete pavements.

Next Generation Concrete Surface

King County installed a section of NGCS texturing on both directions of Avondale Road between NE 144th Place and NE 151st Street. The chart below shows the noise level of the concrete before grinding and up to 13 months after grinding. The increase in noise level is attributed to wear from studded tires.

King County Avondale Road Initial vs. Current Noise Levels

WSDOT constructed a section of NGCS on I-82, near Sunnyside, Washington, in October 2010. The chart below shows the noise level of the old concrete before grinding and up to 29 months after grinding. Conventional diamond grinding (CDG) was used on the remainder of the project.

 I-82 Sunnyside Next Generation Concrete Surface Noise Level

The photos below that were taken approximately one year apart show the effect of studded tires on the NGCS texture. The attrition or wearing down of the flat areas between the grooves is believed to be the cause of the increases in noise levels.

Post-construction close-up of I-82 NGCS   2011 close-up of I-82 NGCS  
  Post-construction close-up of I-82 NGCS              2011 close-up of I-82 NGCS


Conventional Diamond Grinding

Noise measurements were made on the CDG on I-82 as shown in the chart below. The measurements include a reading on the existing concrete pavement and on the CDG after grinding and up to 29 months later.

I 82 Sunnyside Conventional Diamond Grinding  

CDG was also used on the Boeing Access Road to King/Snohomish County Line Pavement Repair Project on I-5 completed in December 2009. Tire/pavement noise measurements before and after the grinding are shown below. 

I-5 Northgate Sound Intensity  

WSDOT used longitudinal tining and conventional diamond grinding (CDG) on a concrete rehabilitation project on I-90 near Cle Elum in 2010. Longitudinal tining was used on the travel lane and the passing lane was restored with CDG. The chart below shows measurements on the CDG just after construction and eighteen months after construction. Noise level results for the longitudinal tining can be found on the Pavement Texturing  page.

 I-90 CleElum Longitudinal Tined Texture