• Dave Doll

The Turnpike noise problem


Last month, WRO received a letter from a Township resident, complaining about the noise from the PA Turnpike. This is an issue we have heard many times over the past few years and one that impacts many of us in Whitpain. Prior to the expansion of the PA Turnpike Northeast Extension (~2012) noise issues were limited to properties in close proximity. After the expansion, noise has a monstrous impact on residents near and far.


The PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Turnpike_Commission is the government organization responsible of the entirety of the highway, separate from PennDOT. The PTC completed a noise study in 2007/8 prior to the construction but nothing afterwards. It is a lengthy read, and by itself appears thorough, but it does not reflect the post-construction reality in our township. (https://www.patpconstruction.com/mpA20toA31/lib/pdf/ptc_noise_impact_analysis.pdf)


In 2016, Whitpain resident Shirley White organized a meeting with a team from the PTC including CEO Mark Compton, State Senator Kate Harper, and around 30 other residents. It was cordial but unproductive. We continued to work with State Senator Daylin Leach, but now both Harper and Leach are in private life. No help there.


In 2018, we were told the PTC was willing to conduct a study to determine if there is a feasible mechanism for attaching or adhering sound absorptive material to the existing noise walls. We are not aware of any output from this.


But the noise continues. Personally, I live over a half mile from the Turnpike, and I’ve measured the early morning noise over 70 decibels spiking to 80. The World Health Organization suggests that steady daytime noise levels should not exceed 55 dbls. https://www.who.int/docstore/peh/noise/Comnoise-1.pdf People cannot open windows. We sleep with white-noise machines.


We are trying to continue this effort. If you or anyone you know have expertise in this area, please reach out to via contact@whitpainresidents.org.

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