BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - If legislation authored by Sen. Eddie Lambert passes, bamboo may pop up along I-10 near the Fountain Hill subdivision, right before crossing into Ascension Parish. "The noise from the passing vehicles is causing real problems for the houses," said Lambert.
People who live along I-10 say the noise level is sometimes overbearing, so Lambert came up with an alternative to the concrete sound walls: thick bamboo.
"Realistically, if you look at the cost of sound walls, if you can plant vegetation, it would be a lot cheaper than trying to construct multi-million dollar sounds walls. It's something that would reduce probably the mowing along the interstate," said Lambert.
Lambert says right now, this is only a suggestion to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), but Joshua Hollins with DOTD says if this bill passes, DOTD would be required to conduct a sound study to find out if planting bamboo is feasible. "It's going to see what the noise impact may be in the surrounding neighborhoods. Whether it reaches the threshold in which the federal process tells us warrants a sound wall there," said Hollins.
DOTD is already a step ahead. With the work going on to widen I-10, federal law requires DOTD to conduct sound studies whenever federal dollars are being spent. Hollins says as of right now, they don't have a study that warrants a wall in that area. "Part of the study is, do we have enough right of way to put enough bamboo? Because what we've found with this type of vegetation, there has to be a density there for the impact to limit the sound as it relates to community's nearby," said Hollins.
Hollins says if they are required to conduct a sound study, there is no set time table on how long the process would take. DOTD also says until a study is done, the cost to construct a bamboo sound barrier wall is unknown.
Click here to read the full proposal.