Golden Ears Bridge expansion joints to be quieter

Crews are waiting for better weather to fix the problem.

Crews are waiting for better weather to fix the problem.

As soon as it warms up, the noise on the Golden Ears Bridge will die down, after crews use more summer-like weather to install a sound-deading solution on noisy expansion joints.

After experimenting the past few years with different technologies, TransLink has come with a solution that’s been used in China.

First, stuff some cloth-like material in between the bars that make up the expansion joints on the bridge that fill the gap between the main span and approach ramps.

The joints are necessary to allow weather-related expansion and contraction of the bridge.

After the cloth has been put in, fill the gaps themselves using neoprene strips, glued into place. That will fill the spaces and eliminate the percussive effects that result when a vehicle tire rolls over the gap, compressing air.

“It should last for a while,” TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie explained.

Residents near the bridge heard the idea last week.

While the Golden Ears Bridge meets noise guidelines, TransLink still wants to make the bridge quieter for  neighbours and says the new tactic should cut noise by about seven decibels.

“It’s going to be quite considerable.”

Hardie didn’t know the cost of the noise-deadening exercise. “We’ll just work it into the budget.”

However, the technique is cheaper than one alternative which would have involved covering the joints with plates and building ramps on the deck to get cars on to those plates.

The new material will be installed on all the joints on the main span and the north end of the bridge and on some joints on the Langley side.

Residents are also concerned about speeding traffic and trucks using their engine brakes on the toll bridge. which opened June 2009.