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I-5 - Ship Canal Bridge - Noise Study

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Construction photos Construction photos
 YouTube video
Watch a short video about the project.

A sample of the noise-absorptive ceiling panel A sample of the noise-absorptive ceiling panel that will be installed in the I-5 express lanes.

This graphic demonstrates how multiple types of highway noise reach communities near the bridge.
This graphic demonstrates how multiple types of highway noise reach communities near the bridge. View larger image.


April 2013

Why is WSDOT studying noise in this area?
Highway traffic noise can interfere with sleep, work and other daily activities during the day and night, and is a concern for many residents living along state highways. Traffic noise from the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge is a problem for residents and businesses near the bridge. Located in a heavily traveled urban area, traffic noise from the bridge reaches the densely populated Seattle neighborhoods of Eastlake, Roanoke Park, University District and Wallingford. Due to the large number of affected residents, high noise levels, and the close proximity of communities to the highway, we identified the area near the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge as a priority for reducing traffic noise.

The End Result
WSDOT contractor crews installed approximately 700 noise-absorptive ceiling panels above the I-5 express lanes on the south end of the Ship Canal Bridge between between E. Gwinn Place and E. Allison Street. The panels are hung vertically on the outer edges of the ceiling. They are designed to absorb and block some of the reflected traffic noise that bounces off the ceiling of the express lanes and into the surrounding neighborhoods.

Since this is the first time this type of material has been used in this application, we will monitor the test section for three years to evaluate its effectiveness at reducing noise and its durability in this environment. The results of the monitoring will be described in a final report. WSDOT remains committed to addressing noise in this area, pending additional funding.

Project Benefits
Installing a noise-absorptive ceiling treatment is a new and innovative method for state transportation agencies working to reduce highway traffic noise. We monitored noise levels before and after installing the test section to measure the noise-reducing capabilities of the ceiling panels. We will also monitor the wear and tear of the treatment over time and evaluate its maintenance requirements and qualities. This monitoring will help us understand how the noise-absorptive material works and determine if it should be used in future projects.

What is the project timeline?

  • 2006 – 2007: Examined feasibility of noise-reducing technologies identified in 2004 and continued research and analysis.
  • 2008: Convened panel of national acoustics experts to evaluate and recommend feasible solutions.
  • 2009: Designed a test section of a noise reduction technology on the bridge and advertised the project's construction contract.
  • February 2010: Awarded contract to Penhall Construction
  • April 2010: preliminary work
  • June 2010: construction begins
  • October 2010: Construction completed
  • June 2012: release first annual report
  • 2010 - 2013: Noise monitoring
  • 2013: submit final report to Legislature

Financial Information

Financial Data for PIN 800524Z
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $5,535
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $0
CWA $0
Total $5,535

Project signage will reflect the cost of construction engineering, project bid award and sales tax.


How can I get more information?
Jamie Holter
WSDOT Communications

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