With the passage of SB-45, the California Street and Highway Code was amended to transfer the programming and funding responsibilities of the Post 1989 Soundwall Retrofit Program to Regional Transportation Planning Agencies. In Los Angeles County, Metro assumed this responsibility. The eligibility determination as well as design and construction responsibilities for the program remained with Caltrans. Metro inherited a backlog of soundwall projects totaling nearly $1 billion without any corresponding funding from the State.
The Metro Board adopted the “Soundwall Implementation Policy” in January 2000. This policy contains a process for prioritizing, funding and building the Post 1989 Soundwall Retrofit Program in Los Angeles County. Currently, there are approximately 230 miles of freeway that are eligible for these soundwalls. The Post 1989 Soundwall Retrofit list keeps growing as traffic, the number of trucks and the resulting noise level increase substantially.
According to Caltrans current estimation (November 2005), the design and construction cost for soundwalls is approximately $10 million per mile. Through the adoption of the 2001 Long Range Transportation Plan, Metro’s 25 year Transportation Plan, the Metro Board allocated $88 million for the Post 1989 Soundwalls Retrofit Program. Currently, over $2 billion is needed to design and construct the soundwalls on the existing Post 1989 Soundwall Retrofit list.
Soundwalls are added to the eligible list based on preliminary field tests conducted by Caltrans at the request of residents and local agencies. The Preliminary Engineering (PE) consists of Noise Barrier Scope Summary Reports (NBSSR) including a Noise Study, and Environmental and Right of Way Assessments. NBSSRs have been completed for 42 miles of high priority soundwalls with final design and construction underway on several additional miles. New construction will begin as soon as additional funding becomes available.