Noise and Vibration Impact Zone in Charlestown and Richmond

Maps, photos, and descriptive text by Cliff Vanover. Information in this post from NEC Future Tier 1 Final EIS – Chapter 7.12 Noise and Vibration.

Charlestown and Richmond Noise and Vibration Impact Zone
Charlestown and Richmond Noise and Vibration Impact Zone – map by Cliff Vanover

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has estimated the noise and vibration impacts in South County if the bypass were constructed. They’ve established a zone of 5000 feet centered on the bypass. In other words, if you live within 2500 feet of the proposed bypass, you will experience noise and vibrations from the passage of high speed trains. This is how they define noise and vibration in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Section 7.12.1 Introduction):

Noise – typically defined as unwanted or undesirable sound – is generated by railway-related sources such as vehicle engines, wheel-rail interaction, and audible warning devices, including train horns, which may cause annoyance at nearby sensitive receptors. In the case of high-speed rail, aerodynamic noise can be generated when train speeds start to exceed 160 miles per hour (mph).
Vibration – defined as oscillatory motion – is generated by wheel-rail interaction from railway operations. Such vibration is transmitted through the track structure into the ground and may be perceptible and disturb people or sensitive activities in nearby buildings.

They estimate that in Washington County, approximately 1460 people will experience “Severe” noise impacts and 3370 will experience “Moderate” noise impacts (Table 7.16-6). They do not break the numbers down by town, nor is the methodology used to determine these numbers given.

Note that in the map above, the Carter Preserve is entirely within the noise impact zone, further diminishing its habitat value for ground nesting birds and other wildlife.

Night Train Photo by Cliff Vanover
Night Train Photo by Cliff Vanover
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