Sound-absorbing noise barriers

The Brenner Motorway was one of the first in Italy to address the problem of noise pollution, identifying problem areas and studying possible solutions. In 1987, well before the introduction of legislation in this field, Autostrada del Brennero SpA drew up a preliminary programme for the installation of noise barriers. It also adopted complementary techniques such as the use of drainage sound-absorbing asphalt able to reduce noise emissions produced by the contact of tyres with the road surface and to absorb part of the sound energy emitted by other moving parts of vehicles.

The Brenner Motorway noise control and abatement plan was updated in 2013 also absorbing the requirements of the Ministry of the Environment. According to this plan, the entire 313 km section from Brenner to Modena is regularly monitored to identify the areas with the highest noise levels, also in relation to nearby built-up areas. A total of 214 noise barriers will be installed along the Brenner Motorway covering a distance of 126,7 km. Among them 117 will be installed between Verona and Modena as part of the project for the construction of the third lane.

The remaining 97 barriers from Brenner to Verona included in the noise control and abatement plan will cover a distance of 65.4 km. The protection systems adopted by Autostrada del Brennero SpA allow the barriers to be quickly installed, reducing roadworks and therefore limiting disruptions to motorway traffic. During the planning phase, the right structure type of noise barriers is defined to ensure that they harmoniously suit in the landscape: examples of this integration are the plants noise barrier in Bressanone, the noise barrier in Trento built as a tunnel to reduce the ‘explosion’ effect of vehicles exiting the Piedicastello tunnel and the noise barrier crossing the city of Bolzano covered by anodised aluminium plates, which also cover the external kerbstone, creating a wrapping effect.

The noise barrier protecting the built-up area of Marano di Isera, in the province of Trento, represents an absolutely unique and innovative experiment. It grants its fundamental sound-absorbing function, but it also turns solar energy into electricity through installed photovoltaic panels. According to the acoustic studies carried out by Autostrada del Brennero SpA, the construction of the noise barriers foreseen between 2012 and 2016, covering a total distance of 45 km, will protect 6,710 inhabitants from the exposure to road noise.
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