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The Different Types of Noise Barrier Walls and Their Uses

Effective noise barriers

Noise pollution is increasing day by day in the society due to the increase in population which in turn leads to an increase in vehicles and industries. The United States is always constructing new highways to try and reduce traffic on the already existing roads and accommodate everyone with a motor vehicle. With all the commotion that comes with an interstate highway and new industries being set up everywhere, the noise they produce is slowly affecting the environment. Additionally, people that live close to these areas are also facing the effects of noise pollution. Scientists thus decided to create wall barriers to reduce the noise on high traffic areas. The noise barrier wall is a perfect solution to reduce the noise produced by compressors, equipment, motors, engine, and traffic.

Noise wall barriers are walls that are made from a different material that is reflective to reduce the sound in an area. They are common on interstate highways and the reflective material can either be brick or wood. The noise wall barrier usually works by absorbing sound, reflecting it or transmitting it. This way the other people living on the inside of the wall are not disturbed by a lot of noise. For the noise wall barrier to be effective, they need to be thicker and taller. The taller and thicker they are the more noise they reduce because of the large surface area.

Different types of noise wall barriers and their uses

There are two major types of wall barriers that are constructed. These are ground-mounted, and structure mounted. Below is a detailed description of each type.

1. Ground-mounted noise barrier

These noise barrier systems are usually constructed on the ground or placed into the ground. The ground-mounted noise barrier consists of three basic types. These include:

●      Noise berms

Noise berms are noise barriers that are usually constructed from natural material in the earth, for instance, soil, rock or stone. Most noise berms are made from material left on a construction site. They usually occupy more space because of their slopping nature.

●      Noise walls

This type of noise barrier is usually constructed off-site and then transferred to its location. For instance, the wall is fabricated in a factory before transportation to its location. Only the foundation for the wall is constructed on site. Some of the types of noise walls include post and panel walls, direct burial panels, brick, and masonry walls and free standing walls.

●      Noise wall system and combination noise berm

This noise barrier is a wall whose height is obtained from a part of the earth berm and the rest of the wall from a noise wall.

2. Structure mounted noise walls

As the name suggests, this is a noise barrier that is constructed on top of a structure. There are two main types, and they are:

●      Noise wall on bridges

These are noise walls that are attached to bridges, and they use a variety of techniques. The procedure and operation used to attach these walls on bridges are diverse but almost similar enough. Some of the types of noise barriers on bridges include post and panel noise barriers, on an outside face of a parapet and post-less panels.

●      Noise walls on retaining walls

These noise barriers are constructed on a highway on top of a retaining wall. The barrier wall thus becomes part of the retaining wall, but in some cases, it is constructed adjacent to it. These are put on high traffic areas to reduce noise for residents in that area.


Noise barriers are so far the most effective solution for reducing noise. While they have some limitations of their own, they are so far the best solution when it comes to environmental noise pollution.