New SR 520 Bridge noise is giving Eastside homeowners a headache

MEDINA, Wash. -- Traffic moving across the new State Route 520 bridge is a problem for many homeowners on the Eastside. They say when cars are driving at a faster speed, they make a loud sound going over the expansion joints on the bridge.

More than 200 people have complained to the city of Medina about the noise.

“It's not the kind of white noise that you get use to, like an ocean,” says Alex Morcos, Medina’s mayor. “It's these bumps you hear with every car.”

The bumps when the cars hit the expansion joints seem to echo for miles. Guy and Sue Degoioia live in Clyde Hill, almost two miles away from the water. They say the noise from the old bridge didn’t reach their home.

“The traffic would go shush-shush, back and forth,” Guy says. “But now you hear da-doom, da-doom, da-doom all the time. It's very irritating.”

The Washington State Department of Transportation says they actually designed the bridge to be quieter. They used a different kind of concrete pavement and encapsulated the expansion joints on the underside of the structure. But homeowners say that didn’t work.

Medina’s deputy mayor, Sheree Wen, has a background in acoustics, so she downloaded an app to take her own noise measurements. Her findings are well above 66 decibels, which is the level WSDOT says at which they’d consider taking action.

WSDOT is taking their own noise measurements now. The mayor is sure they’ll hear what everyone else in town is hearing.

”It’s kind of disappointing at this age, with the technology they have. I understand they faced the same issue with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. So at this point, you would think they would have resolved it.”

WSDOT is testing sound levels on different parts of the bridge, to see if any changes need to be made. They’ll present their findings to the Medina City Council at a meeting next month.