The N6 Athlone Relief Road.

Study confirms excessive traffic noise levels from Athlone N6 road

A noise monitoring survey carried out by consultants at seven residential areas along the N6 Athlone Relief Road has found that traffic noise in all seven areas was above recommended guidelines both during the day and at night.

The report was commissioned by Westmeath County Council and involved noise levels being monitored at residential locations near the dual carriageway over a nine-day period in late January this year.

The areas where the traffic noise was assessed were: Abbeygarth, Priory Park, Arcadia Court, Arcadia Crescent, Cloghanboy Close, Bloomfield Drive and Altown.

The noise levels recorded at each of these locations were "dominated by traffic noise" according to the consultancy firm which carried out the report, AONA Environmental Consulting Ltd.

The report found that at all of the locations traffic noise exceeded Transport Infrastructure Ireland's design goal of 60 decibels, and also breached the night-time limit of 55 decibels as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

While traffic noise levels in all seven areas were above recommended levels, the highest noise readings were recorded in Cloghanboy Close and Priory Park.

The report concluded by outlining two potential options for reducing the sound levels: A lowering of the speed limit on the Athlone N6, from 100km per hour to 80km per hour; or the installation of three or four-metre high absorptive noise barriers at residential areas adjoining the dual carriageway.

Cllr Aengus O'Rourke, the chairperson of the Athlone Relief Road Noise Mitigation Group, welcomed the publication of the report, saying its data supported "what we have been saying for some time".

"The traffic noise coming from the Athlone relief road is increasing, it is intrusive, and it is above acceptable levels. Measures must now be taken to deal with it," Cllr O'Rourke said.

"People who do not have this problem will not appreciate the extent to which the noise impacts on the lives and wellbeing of those living with the daily and nightly non-stop nature of the noise.

"In recent years, traffic volumes right throughout the night have been increasing in a very noticeable way," he added.

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy said the completion of a traffic noise survey was something he had been "pushing strongly for" over the last twelve months.

"I will continue to advocate for the recommendations to be implemented," Deputy Troy said.