In perhaps the richest area of Washington state, a new type of road material is being tested.
the state Department of Transportation (DOT) is testing materials there designed to turn down the din of traffic.
The DOT calls them “quieter pavements.”
Those who drive the highway or live nearby call it a huge improvement: “People who live along 520 are like, ‘You are a godsend,’ ” Scott said.
Some folks complained about the proposed bridge replacement for 520, because it included a Mercer Island-style lid to shield the rich folks’ neighborhoods from the noise. “Blah blah rich people, blah blah fancy freeway” was the common refrain from my left ‘o’ center friends. Now I’m starting to hear “blah blah quiet asphalt.” Maybe with this new pavement we won’t have to spend so much on mitigation in the form of concrete lids and more on this new asphalt.
As an aside, I’m always amazed that this region is able to gin up so much general animosity from things. Should people in gigantic houses be subjected to freeway noise because they’re rich? Should anyone? Of course not.
The battle over the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement will look like an Easter egg hunt compared to what’s in store on 520. The neighborhoods on both ends of the bridge have a lot in common- they’re rich, white, and can hire an army of lawyers. But I wouldn’t want the State of Washington forcing some awful freeway design through my neighborhood. (Oh wait, they already did try once already!)
I predict that this new technology is going to let a thousand flowers bloom. At least that’s my hope.