A giant Green Noise Wall is coming to I-70, east of Columbus, Ohio. The concrete barrier alternative will be constructed from bags of dirt and seeds, making it a second major vegetation highway wall attempt in the U.S. Officials are hoping this one fares infinitely better than an earlier one in Wisconsin, which ended badly.
Concrete sound barriers have been around for a while, usually erected to protect residents nearby from the roar of vehicles passing on the highway. The problem is twofold: concrete is an enormous source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and existing barriers have varying levels of sound-blocking effectiveness. Sure, some are made from bricks and even wood, but those are often not substantial enough. And, I’ll just say it, these walls are ugly. So when the Ohio Department of Transportation began cutting down trees along I-70 for a new concrete sound barrier, locals pushed for something more aesthetically and environmentally pleasing.