Golden Ears Bridge complaints resurface

Noise of cars hitting expansion joints still bothers Pitt Meadows resident

  • May. 21, 2015 5:00 p.m.

By Steph Troughton

The sound caused by noisy expansion joints on Golden Ears Bridge continues to plague one Pitt Meadows resident.

According to Derek Thorkelson, a professor of earth sciences at Simon Fraser University and Wildwood Crescent home owner, the joints currently in place are not buffering the noise adequately. He said area residents are still annoyed, but have given up trying to argue about the voice because they believe nothing will get done.

“Residents are upset with TransLink and looking to Pitt Meadows for a solution,” Thorkelson said at a regular council meeting Tuesday.

He added that one of his neighbors described the issue as “like having a barking dog next door, except that it never stops.”

In 2011, two years after the bridge opened, TransLink implemented a sound-deading solution that had been used in China and involved placing cloth-like material in between the bars that make up the expansion joints on the bridge.

After that cloth was in place, neoprene strips, glued into place, were used to the fill the gaps between the main span and approach ramps.  TransLink could not confirm the cost of the option, but indicated it was cheaper than covering the joints with plates and building ramps on the deck to get cars on to those plates. A TransLink spokesman at that time also said the solution was expected to cut the noise level by approximately seven decibels.

Thorkelson reported he had pages of data proving the sound-relief solution provided some reprieve, but not enough, in part because the neoprene strips are starting to degrade. He showed council pictures of the degradation and suggested maintenance was not being properly monitored.

“The policy for maintenance needs to be changed. That’s the first thing that needs to be done,” Thorkelson said.

Coun. Janis Elkerton agreed with Thorkelson about the noise and said she even noticed it when driving over the bridge.

“You can hear it in the car while driving along with closed windows,” she said.

Coun. Tracy Miyashita added that she had not heard any complaints about the issue in years.

TransLink issued a written response to Thorkelson’s concern, indicating maintenance was ongoing and that measurement of the noise emitted by expansion joints was continual.

Council voted in favor of inviting TransLink to come to a council meeting to further discuss the possibility of implementing better bridge maintenance, as well as other noise buffering solutions.