Image for Southern Outlet: sleep disturbance from trucks at night

*Pic: Southern Outlet. Wikimedia Commons

First published September 27

Residents living adjacent Hobart’s Southern Outlet recently gathered to express concerns about increasing traffic noise, with many experiencing sleep disturbance from trucks at night.

A spokesman for the group, Dr Simon Wright said, “We understand that living near a major road involves some noise and pollution, but there should be a limit on noise levels, especially at night.

“This is a residential area.“

Department of State Growth Traffic Noise guidelines suggest a night-time target noise levels should average less than 45 dB(A), a level at which 10% of people suffer sleep disturbance.

However short-term levels on the Outlet regularly exceed 88 dB(A), 20 times louder than the target average.

Dr Wright added, “It’s the intermittent loud noises that wake you, then the next one comes just as you manage to get back to sleep. It can be very distressing”.

The worst source of noise is large trucks descending the hill using engine braking, but trucks, hotted-up cars and even motorbikes often exceed 85 dB(A) while climbing the hill. It is clear that some vehicles are dramatically louder than others of the same category. 

On behalf of the residents group, Andrew Wilkie MP wrote to Premier Will Hodgman, Minister for State Growth Matthew Groom, Police Commissioner Darren Hine, the Director of the EPA, as well as four MLCs.

The Government’s response was that they will not undertake mitigation on existing roads.

However the Department’s own guidelines provide for mitigation in cases where the volume of traffic has increased, as it certainly has over recent years, and also where a departmental decision has resulted in permanent re-routing of heavy traffic – such as the recent decision to run log trucks down the Outlet at night to avoid travelling down Macquarie Street during the day.

“We request that the Department of State Growth should measure the noise profiles along the Southern Outlet, identify the types of vehicles that are producing the worst noise, and consider strategies for reducing noise”, said Dr Wright.

Possibilities include sound barriers, providing heavy glazing, stricter standards on heavy vehicles, curfews and a greater police presence. The group also requested that the government reconsider their refusal to provide mitigation measures along what is less than a kilometre of affected road.


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