NATIONAL Highways have announced the world-first use of an innovative technology allowing the public to hear anticipated traffic noise as part of an ongoing £1 billion project consultation.

The project is being proposed as the biggest investment on the North’s road network for a generation and is, so far, three weeks into its six week consultation.

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November 6 will mark the final day for public to voice their opinions on the plans to improve the A66 between the M6 at Penrith and A1 at Scotch Corner.

The plans look to dual the remaining sections of the route and improve a number of key junctions.

National Highways say some communities will benefit from noise reduction and, in a worlds first for a scheme consultation, it has developed SoundLab technology.

The technology, designed by Arup, gives people an opportunity to listen to the expected noise levels and hear the sound of the road with and without the proposed improvement, such as special road surfaces and sound barriers.

 The road-infrastructure company and Arup, hope the technology will be nominated for a prestigious accolade at the John Connell Awards, run by the Noise Abatement Society and known as the “Noise Oscars.”

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Monica Corso Griffiths, National Highways’ head of design and DCO for the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, said: “I had the pleasure of hearing the SoundLab in action at the recent public engagement events at Kirkby Thore and Warcop.

“It helps people understand the potential impact of the scheme options and what can be done to mitigate it.

“I am delighted that we are now rolling out this ground-breaking kit during the statutory consultation period and I urge the public to check it out.”

Transport Minister Baroness Vere, who was given a demonstration of the SoundLab during last month's consultation launch event, said:

"I’m pleased to see National Highways working so closely together with Arup on this cutting-edge technology. The A66 is set to have a transformational impact on the region and I encourage anyone with an interest to get involved with this important consultation.”

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Martin Butterfield, Arup’s noise and vibration top delivery deputy, said: “SoundLab offers people objective information in an easy, accessible format so they can make up their own minds about what they hear.

“In a world-first for a project consultation, this technology has provided National Highways with a range of sound demos representing all the areas across the A66 scheme without needing to measure sound and record audio and video footage in a large number of different environments.

“The sound demonstrations bring to life the noise modelling results included in the Preliminary Environmental Information Report – which is one of the consultation materials available – and, in another first, are available online.”


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