It’s that time of year again, when the sun rises early and with it, the birds. We’re a few weeks from daylight saving but try telling that to the wattle birds. They seem to delight in landing in the grevillea and bottlebrush outside the bedroom window when morning is but a blush on the eastern horizon.
Their throaty calls intrude on sleep, often sounding like nagging teachers. “For example, for example,” yells one. “Ban Ki Moon, Ban Ki Moon,” replies another. It’s all part of the cycle of seasons and while occasionally annoying, it’s nothing on what the residents in the south-west of Berry are forced to endure.
No matter the season, these poor souls are exposed to seemingly endless noise from the bypass.
They say at times it sounds like an airport, such is the racket from passing traffic, which knows no curfew. When the Register met up with residents and tried to record an interview, their voices were barely audible above the din.
Unlike fellow residents who live on the northern side of town, they are not shielded; there is no sound barrier to dampen the sound.
Their sleep is disturbed, they are anxious and they want action to curb the sound.
Exposure to prolonged or excessive noise has been shown to cause a range of health problems ranging from stress, poor concentration, productivity losses in the workplace, and communication difficulties and fatigue from lack of sleep, to more serious issues such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, tinnitus and hearing loss.
For a place that describes itself as the Town of Trees, it is an unfortunate consequence the bypass, which has transformed the town for the better by taking trucks off the main street, is making life unendurable for some – a living hell, as they describe it.
Few would wish there was no highway upgrade but one can certainly understand why these residents are so upset. The constant roar of traffic gnaws away at their quality of life. Babies don’t sleep, tempers fray and the promise of a quiet country life is drowned out.
We strongly urge the RMS and the NSW Government to put their heads together and come up with a solution. On other stretches of the vastly improved highway, we have seen noise barriers installed to protect the amenity of adjacent neighbourhoods. We see no reason the residents of this part of Berry should be any different.