Official Government Sites
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS CODE
215.5. (a) The department shall develop and implement a system of
priorities for ranking the need for installation of noise attenuation
barriers along freeways in the California freeway and expressway
system. In establishing a priority system, the department shall give
the highest consideration to residential areas which were developed
prior to the opening of the freeway. If alterations have been made
to the freeway since its original opening which result in a
significant and measurable increase in ambient noise levels, the
opening date for that segment of the freeway, for the purposes of
determining priorities under this section, is the completion date of
that alteration project. Other criteria for determining priorities
shall include the existing and future intensity of sound generated by
the freeway, the increase in traffic flow since the original
construction of the freeway, the cost of building the soundwall in
relation to the expected noise reduction, the number of persons
living in close proximity to the freeway, and whether a majority of
the occupants in close proximity to the freeway resided there prior
to the time the freeway routing was adopted by the commission. The
city or county in which the residential area is located shall be
responsible for providing documentation to the department on the
percentage of original occupants still residing along the freeway.
The actual cost of construction shall be used in determining the
relative priority ranking of projects funded and constructed pursuant
to subdivision (d).
(b) When all freeways have been ranked in priority order, the
department shall, consistent with available funding, include in its
proposed state transportation improvement program, a program of
construction of noise attenuation barriers beginning with the highest
In preparing the annual priority list, the department shall not
add any new project to the list ahead of a project that has been
funded by a city or county, or by any other public agency using
public funds, and is awaiting state reimbursement pursuant to
(c) The commission shall include in the estimate adopted pursuant
to Section 14525 of the Government Code an annual and five-year
estimate of funds estimated to be available for noise attenuation
barriers along freeways. If any city or county constructs a noise
attenuation barrier along a freeway pursuant to subdivision (d), the
commission shall allocate funds for the project in the fiscal year
the project would have been eligible for funding based on the
department's priority list and the commission's fund estimate at the
time of approval of the project pursuant to subdivision (d).
(d) If any city, county, or public agency constructs a noise
attenuation barrier along a freeway using public funds prior to the
time that the barrier reaches a high enough priority for state
funding, then, when the funding priority is reached, the department
shall reimburse the city, county, or public agency without interest
for the cost of construction, but the reimbursement may not exceed
the cost of the department to construct the barriers. Reimbursement
shall be made only if the city, county, or public agency constructs
the noise attenuation barrier to the standards approved by
department, follows bidding and contracting procedures approved by
the department, and the project is approved by the commission.
215.6. If any city or county contributes at least 33 percent of the
estimated cost of any soundwall project included for the first time
in the state transportation improvement program in 1992 or in
subsequent years, that project shall be given priority over all other
soundwall projects to be included for the first time in that state
transportation improvement program. If, due to the accelerated
priority given a project by this section, two or more projects each
qualify for the highest priority, the relative ranking between the
two projects shall be determined on the basis of their relative
ranking prior to being accelerated.
215.7. (a) In the event of the destruction of any segment of a
state highway due to a natural disaster, when that segment remains
out of service for five years or more, the department may, for
purposes of mitigating the effects of increased traffic and noise on
alternate state highways, use funds from the State Highway Account in
the State Transportation Fund sufficient in amount to meet the state'
s required matching share of the costs of construction of noise
attenuation barriers on any alternate state highway where traffic has
increased due to the destruction of that segment if the construction
of those barriers is eligible for at least 25 percent funding from
federal emergency relief funds and otherwise meets the requirements
of Section 215.5. That amount is hereby appropriated to the
department from that account, as a loan, that shall be repaid from
funds made available under subdivision (d) of Section 215.5 for that
(b) For purposes of this section, "natural disaster" has the
meaning as defined in Section 8680.3 of the Government Code.
216. (a) The noise level produced by the traffic on, or by the
construction of, a state freeway shall be measured in the classrooms,
libraries, multipurpose rooms, and spaces used for pupil personnel
services of a public or private elementary or secondary school if the
rooms or spaces are being used for the purpose for which they were
constructed and they were constructed under any of the following
(1) Prior to the award of the initial construction contract for
the freeway route and prior to January 1, 1974.
(2) After December 31, 1973, and prior to the issuance of a
statement of present and projected noise levels of the freeway route
by the department pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 65302 of the
(3) Subsequent to the construction of the freeway but prior to any
alteration or expansion of the freeway that results in a significant
and perceptible increase in ambient noise levels in the rooms or
(b) The measurements shall be made at appropriate times during
regular school hours and shall not include noise from sources that
exceed the maximum permitted by law.
(c) If the noise level produced from the freeway traffic, or the
construction of the freeway, exceeds 55dBA, L10, or 52dBA, Leq., the
department shall undertake a noise abatement program in any
classroom, library, multipurpose room, or space used for pupil
personnel services to reduce the freeway traffic noise level therein
to 55dBA, L10, or 52dBA, Leq., or less, by, measures including, but
not limited to, installing acoustical materials, eliminating windows,
installing air-conditioning, or constructing sound baffle
(d) If the department determines that the construction of the
freeway will result in a noise level exceeding 55dBA, L10, or 52dBA,
Leq., the department shall complete the temporary or permanent noise
abatement program prior to commencing that construction, or as soon
as practicable thereafter.
(e) If it becomes necessary to convert the classrooms, libraries,
multipurpose rooms, or spaces used for pupil personnel services to
other school-related purposes because the freeway traffic noise level
therein exceeds 55dBA, L10, or 52dBA, Leq., the department shall pay
the cost of the conversions.
(f) If the noise level generated from sources within and without
the classrooms, libraries, multipurpose rooms, or spaces used for
pupil personnel services exceeds 55dBA, L10, or 52dBA, Leq. prior to
construction of the freeway or completion of the alteration or
expansion of the freeway, as the case may be, and the noise from the
freeway, or its construction, alteration, or expansion, also exceeds
55dBA, L10, or 52dBA, Leq., the department shall undertake a noise
abatement program that will reduce the noise to its preconstruction,
prealteration, or preexpansion level.
(g) Priority for noise abatement programs shall be given to those
public and private elementary and secondary classrooms, libraries,
multipurpose rooms, and spaces used for pupil personnel services
constructed in conformance with Article 3 (commencing with Section
17280) of Chapter 3 of Part 10.5 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the
Education Code or subject to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a).
(h) As used in this section, dBA means decibels measured by the "A"
weighting described in Section 3.1 of the American National Standard
specification for sound level meters, S1.4-1971, approved April 27,
1971, and published by the American National Standards Institute.
L10 is the sound level that is exceeded 10 percent of the time for
the period under consideration and is a value which is an indicator
of both the magnitude and frequency of occurrence of the loudest
noise events. Leq. is the equivalent steady state sound which in a
stated period of time would contain the same acoustic energy as the
time-varying sound level during the same time period.
216.1. As used in Section 216, "spaces used for pupil personnel
services" means rooms that are used primarily for counseling,
testing, or similar type services involving the presence of pupils.
216.5. (a) The department shall construct at least one
demonstration noise attenuation barrier fabricated from rice straw
upon meeting the conditions and requirements of this section.
(b) Prior to construction of the barrier specified in subdivision
(a), the department shall identify an appropriate location, and shall
develop separate cost estimates for constructing a barrier at that
location using a standard noise attenuation barrier design and
constructing the barrier using the rice straw design.
(c) If a noise barrier system fabricated from rice straw appears
on the department's list of approved noise barrier systems, the
department shall, within one year, identify a suitable regularly
programmed transportation project that includes a noise barrier
element for construction of the demonstration noise barrier system.
In making its project selection, the department shall consider
projected completion schedules for potential candidate projects with
the intent of completing the demonstration project expeditiously.
(d) The department shall not be required to construct the rice
straw barrier specified in subdivision (a) until all the following
(1) A noise barrier system fabricated from rice straw is approved
by the department and appears on the department's list of approved
noise barrier systems.
(2) Funding has been secured and made available by the
manufacturer of the selected rice straw system to offset any
additional costs incurred by the department in using the rice straw
barrier design based on the cost estimates prepared pursuant to
(3) A location has been identified for construction of the rice
straw barrier system that meets safety, environmental, and related
project requirements, and sufficient funding has been programmed and
is available for construction of the barrier based on the cost
estimate for the standard noise barrier design.
(e) The department may select any approved rice straw barrier
system for use in the demonstration project as long as the
manufacturer of the selected system secures and provides the required
funding specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d). If no
manufacturer of an approved rice straw barrier system provides the
required funding, the department shall not be required to complete
the demonstration project.
(f) The department shall, on or before January 1, 2005, transmit
to the Legislature a report regarding the implementation of this