Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sound barriers would make a sound barrier

++Addition++I'd forgotton that five years ago Randall Parker had made a similar observation, in addition to doing some relevant quantitative digging:
The Federal Highway Administration says most highway sound barriers are constructed of concrete or masonry block, range from 3-5 meters [9-16 feet] in height, and cost between $175 and $200 a square meter.

According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, there are "more than 2,630 linear miles of sound barriers" along U.S. highways, constructed at a cost of some $1.4 billion.

By comparison, the Pentagon is spending about $3.9 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, not counting rebuilding costs, the Associated Press has reported.
There is little shame in running half a decade behind parapundit, I suppose.


I was in Minneapolis last week and was treated to miles and miles of aesthetically-pleasing highway sound barriers along I-35 and I-90. Over the last few years, I've noticed them in several cities I've travelled to. They began going up along the I-435 loop of my native stomping grounds four or five years ago. If you're unfamiliar with them, take a look at these google images.

Municipalities are putting up hundreds of miles of these walls all across the country--and justifying the costs that accompany it--just to keep noise out. These structures could just as well be used to keep people out. A couple hundred miles here, a couple hundred miles there, and before long we're talking about real mileage--say, around 2,000. Anyone who claims that building a wall along the entire US-Mexico border is an impossible undertaking is telling a lie.


B Lode said...

I like the way you think, AE.

Is it
eh pig eh nee
eh pig own?

Jokah Macpherson said...

True, but if you're going to do this you have to go about it diplomatically. Get the new generation of Ted Stevens/Robert Byrd wannabes to build an interstate tracing the southern border, then generously offer to put up a wall to keep the sound out of Mexico.

silly girl said...

Dang it.

Jokah beat me to it.

Great idea!

When I am king and tyrant, I will sell SWPL's stock on a project to build a fence on the border to keep out NOISE!

Nick said...

How anyone can present the "building a fence is just toooo ha-aard" argument w/o receiving nothing but guffaws and incredulous harrumphs in reply is beyond me. Of all the bits of leftist claptrap that fly about the political arena, this is quite possibly the most idiotic.

Assimilating tens of millions of mestizos along with god knows who else? Why that'll just happen naturally when we eliminate poverty and crime, reform the financial realm, provide cheap universal health care for all and democratize the whole world while ensuring universal brotherhood and charity, all of which we will surely accomplish any minute now.

Build a fence, you say? Now, you've got to understand the limitations of government power . . .

In a related note, I fear one of the most bitter aspects of living in third world America will be knowing just how easily that state of affairs could've been prevented.

Audacious Epigone said...

B Lode,

The later. And while we're at it, is it "Be-load" or "Blode"?


Hah, brilliant! You could sell WWE tickets to a SWPL.


The inconsistency of those assertions is blatant but not called out nearly enough.

FuturePundit said...


You will find in my archives that I've used the costs of noise barrier walls to calculate border barrier costs. About $3.2 billion for the entire 2000 mile US-Mexican border.

But if we built to Israeli West Bank standards then $7.34 billion for an Israeli-style barrier on our entire border with Mexico.

That's extremely cheap compared to just the health care costs for a year for uninsured illegal aliens. We could save a lot of money with a border barrier.

FuturePundit said...

Here is a summary of some of my border barrier cost calculations. In a nutshell: $10 billion would get us a very deluxe barrier along the entire US-Mexican border. We'd also reduce noise pollution.

silly girl said...

Who would build it?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Union white and black guys, or illegal aliens.

I bet those union guys would take a pay cut just for the satisfaction of building it themselves.

Audacious Epigone said...

Silly girl,

There are apparently scores of union members who are preemptively refusing to take part in the construction of the cordoba mosque. If they're willing to turn down work because of personal opposition to what they're constructing, I can't imagine they'd be opposed to building something they want to see built!