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Quieter Pavement Evaluation


January 2011

• On August 16, 2009, crews finished installing the third quieter pavement test section on I-405 through Bellevue. View the noise test results for the I-405 Bellevue quieter pavement test section.

How are the test sections of quieter asphalt pavement on I-5 and SR 520 performing?
• Our data shows that quieter asphalt pavement test sections on southbound I-5 in Lynnwood and SR 520 in Medina are not performing well. Today both quieter asphalt pavement test sections are just as loud to the human ear as sections paved at the same time with our standard asphalt. Learn more

• In July 2007, we installed the second of three quieter pavement asphalt test sections on SR 520 through Medina, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point and Bellevue area. The initial noise test results are now available for viewing.

• In August 2006, We installed the first of three quieter asphalt test sections on southbound I-5 in Lynnwood. View our test results so far. 

• Sign up for e-mail updates to learn more about projects in the Puget Sound area.

We are installing several miles of quieter pavement on some of Washington State's busiest highways.  We will study the test sections to see how quieter pavement performs in the Pacific Northwest's unique driving and climate conditions.

We are testing both quieter asphalt, which contains compounds that help reduce noise, and quieter concrete, which uses surface texturing techniques to reduce noise.

Why is WSDOT testing quieter pavement?
Noise is a common complaint near highways across the state.  Residents have told us they want solutions that will reduce traffic noise.  We are testing quieter pavement as a potential tool to reduce road noise on major highways like Interstate 90, Interstate 5, Interstate 405 and State Route 520

The challenge is to design pavements that reduce noise while still providing durable, smooth and safe surfaces.  We are studying a new generation of quieter pavements to test their durability against ever-changing driving conditions that include heavy rain, snow, ice and studded tires.  We also want to know how long their noise reduction abilities last and how much noise they will eliminate.

The End Result
We will study each test section of quieter pavement for at least five years or until they reach the end of their useful lives. Our engineers need several years worth of data to observe trends relating to durability and noise reduction. Our engineers will continue to take measurements until they've determined the quieter pavement has reached the end of its useful life. We will measure several characteristics:

  • durability
  • quality and quantity of noise reduction
  • how noise suppression abilities perform over time

These tests will provide us with the data we need to determine if quieter pavement is a good choice for Washington highways.

Project Benefits

  • Better data for decision making: Quieter pavement has the potential to reduce traffic noise on some of our most heavily traveled highways. We are testing quieter pavements to assess their potential affects on safety, pavement lifespan, noise reduction and costs. This information will help policymakers, WSDOT and others make more informed decisions about incorporating quieter pavement into highway projects.

What is the project timeline?

We will test each section of quieter pavement for five years after its installation. Our engineers will continue to take measurements until they've determined the quieter pavement has reached the end of its useful life.

Financial Information

Cost to lay down quieter pavement on southbound I-5 in Lynnwood (summer 2006)

  • Standard (hot mix) asphalt - $58,900 per lane mile
  • Polymer-modified quieter asphalt - $81,600 per lane mile
  • Rubberized quieter asphalt - $93,200 per lane mile
  • Quieter concrete (texturizing existing concrete) - $100,000 per lane mile
  • Quieter concrete (texturizing and installing new concrete) - $2 million per lane mile

For total project costs, visit the project Web pages:

How can I get more information?
Acoustics Program
Tim Sexton
Phone: (206) 440-4549

Travis Phelps
Phone: (206) 805-2861

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