The opening of the Berry Bypass, 12 months ahead of schedule, has been hailed “great news” and it is, but for residents who live adjacent to the new road, the noise it has produced was a shock.
One resident who has lived in Berry all his life and in North Street for the past five years said he was shocked by how loud the traffic on the new bypass actually was.
“It has impacted on us big time,” he said.
“I was quite shocked. I couldn’t believe it on Thursday night when the road opened. We could hear it clearly.
“I could tell you exactly the time. I was in the lounge room and I thought there must have been a truck driving past on North Street, not on the bypass.”
The resident said he felt they had been misled about its impact.
“I’m all for the bypass and have been the whole way through the process,” he said.
“I don’t begrudge the bypass, it is a great thing for the town and will take traffic out of the main street. But I feel we have been misled about how much noise we would actually hear.
“We can hear the wheels, the brakes, the trucks. Around 3.45am a truck jumped on its air horn for 15 seconds. I don’t know why, if there was something on the road or what, but it was very loud.
“We were under the impression about 90 per cent of the sound would be blocked out.
“We knew it was going to be a change but just not this much.”
He said the fact it was a very still and quiet night might have also had an impact on the level of noise.
“Gareth [Kiama MP Gareth Ward] has spoken about all the good things the road will bring and that’s right, but there is the other side of the story as well,” he said.
“How much it will impact on some residents.”
He suggested the noise mound needed to be made larger, trees planted to buffer the noise or sound reducing barriers put in place like on the highway at Kiama at Gerringong.
“I don’t think the noise mound is high enough. From our verandah we can still see the clearance lights on top of the semi-trailers,” he said.
Mr Ward said he was happy to hear from residents about their concerns.
“I have reached out on Facebook saying as much,” he said.
“But you also have to consider that this section of the bypass has just opened. At this stage it is a single lane each way with the speed limit of 60km/h.
“Once it becomes two lanes each way, with a speed limit of 100km/h a lot of that braking noise will go.
“We analyse these things and we work for the best outcome. Let’s get the whole project finished first and then we can look at it.
“But I’m happy to hear from residents and their suggestions.”