Board on Board Fence along Highway - same project, different layout. Why?


They are redoing the highway near my house, and running a few miles of board-on-board fencing along the back of the yards that back up to the highway.
Basically, this stuff:
http://www.outdoorstyle.ca/images/fencing/board-on-board-fence.jpg
I noticed that in some sections they alternated the boards like in the picture so that you can't see through the fence, but other sections have the boards directly opposite each other so the fence is open between the uprights.
Similar to this, but with boards on both sides:
http://www.cedarfencing.com/images/dog_eared_space_board_panel_with_post_550x300.jpg
There's a half mile or so of alternating, then some open, then some alternating - mostly alternating.
There doesn't seem to be anything different about the locations as all sections are along the back yards of residential houses.
Can you think of any reason why they did this? Bad workmanship comes to mind, since I can't think of why they would want to leave the fence open to the highway noise. I know if I lived in those houses I'd have them "close" the fence for more privacy, less noise.
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On Mon, 31 Aug 2009 08:38:00 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Maybe they are going to do some real-world testing?
My gut says there will be negligible difference between the two as far as noise abatement. The open one has some advantages if you're in snow country. [and it would be cheaper, if I'm picturing it right.]
Get a decibel meter and walk along each side some day during rush hour and tell us how much quieter is on the house side, vs. the road side--- and if either style makes a noticeable difference.
Jim
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re: The open one has some advantages if you're in snow country
We are.
re: and it would be cheaper, if I'm picturing it right
You might not be picturing it right.
In both cases, there are boards on both sides of the rails, so the same amount of material was used for each style.
re: Get a decibel meter and walk along each side some day during rush hour
I'm not sure I need to do that. Why don't you think an alternating board fence would block more sound than a open fence? Take it to the extreme and compare a chain link fence to a solid panel. Doesn't it make sense that the more material there is for the sound to bounce off of, the less noise will make it into the yard?
Yes, there will be some bouncing of the sound waves within the fence, and there will be some leakage around the slats and through the openings, but the closer to solid you get, the less noise will make it through. Try it on your own with a radio and few boards.
Why do they build those solid walls next to highways? Why wouldn't they go cheaper and put up slotted walls if it makes no difference?
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I'm still not picturing the two styles, I guess. But a radio and my property would make a poor comparison. [and I don't have a decibel meter, anyway.<g>]
The effectiveness of an acoustic fence is affected by how far the houses and the highway are from the fence.

Why did they cut all the trees off an embankment so the entire thing slid into the road the following spring? Sometimes engineers make mistakes, or are just plain ignorant.
I'm still not sure what they look like- But I'm betting the open fence is to eliminate some snow drifts.
Jim
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Jim,
I posted 2 pictures:
Board-on-Board with alternating boards so that you can not see through the fence when looking straight at it:
Top View:
Board Board Board ========================= Board Board Board
Front View:
http://www.outdoorstyle.ca/images/fencing/board-on-board-fence.jpg
A slat board fence with openings between the slats so that you *can* see through it when looking straight at it.
Top View:
Board Board Board ===================== Board Board Board
Front View
http://www.cedarfencing.com/images/dog_eared_space_board_panel_with_post_550x300.jpg
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On Mon, 31 Aug 2009 15:00:34 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
-snip-

I'm guessing this would be better than a single layer of boards that touch. I thought this was the 'open' one you saw.

That just seems like a waste of lumber to me- or a mis-reading of the plans.
C'mon- call the highway department. Inquisitive minds have to know. . .
Jim
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re: That just seems like a waste of lumber to me- or a mis-reading of the plans.
Actually, it might not be a waste of lumber from an aesthetics perspective. Nobody has a bad side, not the homeowner's and not the highway.
The project is a "fancying up" of the last few miles of a highway that ends at a lake. They reduced it from 2 lanes in each direction to 1, 55 mph to 40, removed the traffic lights at the 4 intersections and put in roundabouts (The jury is still out on those since the project isn't done yet. Only one roundabout is actually a roundabout right now and even with that one the traffic pattern isn't permanent yet.)
New street lights, curves, a walking path, a bike path, benches, etc. Another goal is to stop the drag racing (and associated accidents) that used to take place on the straight stretches between the traffic lights.
So making both sides of the fence look nice makes sense. However, to me at least, the alternating board looks better then the open style and just seems to make more sense.
BTW, 3 consecutive houses along the stretch with the alternating board style actually took matching boards and filled in the gaps on their side so they have a solid fence in their yard. I assume they did it with their own money...or they know someone on the project very well.
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re: That just seems like a waste of lumber to me- or a mis-reading of the plans.
I just found a graphic of the project at our town's website and the graphic has a legend related to the fence:
FENCE LEGEND
FENCE LINE TYPE STYLE
A 1.2m (4) TALL (OPEN) B 1.2m (4) TALL (SOLID) C 1.8m (6) TALL (SOLID)
So we know that it wasn't a mis-reading of the plans. Some of the fence is meant to be Open...I'll still don't know why though. Some fence is near houses, some is near open land, yet there seems to be a mixture of both Open and Closed in both areas.
I also found a number for the local project contact. Maybe I'll give him a call and see what he says...
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My bet's on sound control. Likely the property owners that bitched about traffic noise got the closed style fence. There is likely a detectable difference between the two, but the complainers will be happy thinking they got the better deal. It's all in the ear of the beholder to borrow a phrase.
Joe
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

http://www.cedarfencing.com/images/dog_eared_space_board_panel_with_post_550x300.jpg
You COULD call your highway department. You'll probably get routed to the tree-removal department who will tell you it is a federal law to mark the right edge of a highway with a solid white line and why do you ask?
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On Mon, 31 Aug 2009 08:38:00 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

The only thing that I've thought of is that in some areas they want to allow small creatures to be able to get thru the fence.
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