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Hundreds Lose Protection From Bradley Noise, Exposure Map Says

Residents expressed their frustrations Wednesday night after learning many of them will not receive subsidized sound proofing from Bradley International Airport's departing and arriving aircrafts.

Residents were up in arms Wednesday night when they learned hundreds of homes around Bradley International Airport would become ineligible for federal subsidies to soundproof their homes.

What was even more startling to some who attended Wednesday’s informational meeting at the New England Air Museum, was the number of homes that will be eligible under the airport’s redrawn noise exposure map.

According to Bradley’s study, the following number of residential properties in East Granby, Suffield, Windsor Locks and Windsor have been identified as impacted noise-sensitive properties:

 

Community Total Impacted Dwellings East Granby 0 Suffield 25 Windsor 44 Windsor Locks 0 Total 69


According to Stuart Cummings, the project's lead consultant, Bradley’s 2008 noise exposure map produced 638 residential properties eligible for the residential sound insulating program (RSIP). The newly drawn map, however, which is a projection of 2013 noise limits and levels, produced just 69 eligible properties.

Cummings, along with acoustical consultant Alan Hass, delivered  a presentation to a standing-room-only Air Museum hall, touting decreased noise levels in the Bradley area.

According to Hass, four two-week samples of flight patterns were observed in January, April, July and September 2012. From those samples, flight track models were produced, and, with information on what type of aircrafts were being flown and the nature of operations, areas most affected by noise were calculated.

The number of eligible properties has decreased since the noise exposure map was last updated in 2008 because to a sharp decline in flights and advances in technology, Hass said.

Bradley has seen a decline of more than 100 flights per day since 2008 and aircrafts flown these days are less noisy, he said.

Despite the findings reported by Hass, many residents in attendance found it hard to believe that their property is no longer RSIP eligible when they are either directly under a flight path or right next to the airport.

Mary Roberge, a Windsor Locks condo owner, described aircraft noise over her now ineligible home as life disrupting.

"In the morning, at night, if there's (an airplane) coming in, it's so loud it can wake you up. It's stop-on-the-phone-and-wait-until-it-passes kind of loud," she said.

"If you can throw a rock and hit (a plane), you should be in the (RSIP) zone," said Roberge, describing her Concord Landing condo's proximity to the flight path.

Fellow Windsor Locks resident Kevin Dwelley described high noise levels and extremely close aircraft encounters, as well.

"We were backing out of our driveway. The plane was going over the house behind us, and if I was standing on the guy's roof, I probably could have touched it with a broom," said Dwelley.

"Most of the time it's not bad," Dwelley said of the noise. "It's just that every day there are a few that are excessively loud. The bigger jets. The military jets. It's every day, and he's talking about decreased traffic. Well the traffic may decrease, but that doesn't decrease the noise, it just decreases how often it happens."

Hass, Cummings and even Environmental Program Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration Richard Doucette, could offer little in the form of comfort to a room full of frustrated homeowners.

They each told the audience the newly drawn map will be submitted to the FAA in May, and the approval process will take 60 days.

The official number of eligible homes, and which homes will be identified as eligible, will not be available until FAA approval has been received.

John Williams March 21, 2013 at 06:57 PM
I'm not sure I fully understand how anyone feels they "need" to be compensated with federal tax funds via soundproofing their homes. How many decades has Bradley been in use vs how long the majority and at this point probably most people have lived in these residences. I can bet these people purchased these homes long after BDL was in business. I purchased my first home in 1995, directly in the flight pattern off Stone Rd in Windsor. I knew very well what I was getting into, especially after a major Boeing Jet passed over during my inspection process. I chose to move around the height of BDL's boom in traffic for that reason, and also at that time the Boeing 737-200 series, the loudest commercial jet in operation was the most common being used by USAir, Southwest and Delta. Now, those engines are illegal and as mentioned the noise level has dropped by a substantial amount , as well as the traffic. Point is, you are owed nothing, and you should not feel you are owed anything. If you feel so, then put your house on the market and sell it, just as I did. NOTHING has changed to lower your value from what you paid for it other than the obvious recession, which hopefully is working it's way out.
John Kelling March 22, 2013 at 05:13 PM
I agree. It's inconceivable that one could move into a dwelling under the flight path of the airport, and not be aware of it - particularly on Concorde in Windsor Locks. The fault really lies in the building and zoning people who allow such projects directly under the flight path. If anyone should pay for the soundproofing, it should be the towns who allow such building, shared by the homeowners who voluntarily move into such places. I don't like spending my tax dollars to overcome poor decisions by others. Now, that is broad brush, and doesn't apply in all situations. There are some who probably should be provided with sound proofing because they have found themselves in the noisy situation through no fault of their own, but most need to understand that we live with our choices, and no one owes you anything because you made that choice.

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