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Author Topic: Sound when driving over concrete pavement  (Read 16487 times)

joshI5

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Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« on: July 15, 2015, 06:41:23 PM »

I've always enjoyed hearing the unique sounds the tires make when driving over certain concrete pavement, usually over a bridge or flyover. I've noticed it's only recognizable on newer highways--most of the time it's something to do with the grooves and how they're spaced out on concrete--I believe the terminology is called the "diamond grinding" of pavement? What's interesting is that the sound varies from state to state. Being from California, this method produces a raspy, low-pitched grinding noise which I happen to like. However, in Florida it makes almost an "electric" hum, and it's much calmer. Also, in Houston and Nevada there's a sort of whistling sound...

Just wondering if anyone else has interesting observations about this. It seems like this is only found on newer highways--the older ones don't seem to make any sound at all when driving over bridges. Is it only in urban areas? Anyone know what the reason is behind the sound? Is it supposed to wake up drowsy drivers or is the noise unintentional?

This is particularly what I'm talking about:

« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 06:44:34 PM by joshI5 »
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Big John

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2015, 06:48:31 PM »

The "tining" is used to add friction to the surface for a safety feature.  Problem with the tining is the noise it creates so different agencies were developing different to try to cut down on the noise.

Minnesota DOT article on this: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/materials/researchastroturf.html
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roadman

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2015, 06:55:09 PM »

The "tining" is used to add friction to the surface for a safety feature.  Problem with the tining is the noise it creates so different agencies were developing different to try to cut down on the noise.

Minnesota DOT article on this: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/materials/researchastroturf.html
The I-99 bridges north of Bald Eagle are particularly loud in this regard.  First time I crossed one in my then-new to me 2012 Focus, I initially thought I was losing a tire.
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xcellntbuy

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2015, 07:43:39 PM »

When I lived in south Florida, the concrete always had a distinctive higher pitch sound when driving over the surface different from other areas I have traveled between upstate New York and south Florida.  The higher the speed, and the newer the concrete, the higher the pitch. 

The two bridges I drive over each day in Milledgeville, GA have a deeper sound.  It could be caused by mineral content but I am not sure.  South Florida concrete is made out of the massive coral deposits extracted out from the "lake belt" in northwest Miami-Dade County into southern Broward County.  It has a flat, matte light grayish white appearance.  Concrete in middle Georgia shimmers with sparkles, as does the asphalt.
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Alex4897

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2015, 09:57:56 PM »

Delaware's concrete paved roadways tend to have a higher pitched whistle to them.  DE 1 and I-495 both stand out as being like, I suppose because the higher speeds tends to heighten the pitch.  Our bridges are all unique, you might get a raspy one, a middle pitch whistle, are something in between.  The DE 1 turnpike tends to have a whistle at a lower pitch then the regular roadway.
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Roadrunner75

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2015, 10:05:25 PM »

If you're looking for some rapid fire contrast between the sound of concrete bridges and asphalt, this section of the NJ Turnpike through Elizabeth is always a good time:
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.6519539,-74.1928627,1329m/data=!3m1!1e3

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Thing 342

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2015, 10:18:21 PM »

I-64 through the Peninsula uses two types of concrete, an older style that goes cathunk-cathunk-cathunk when one drives over the numerous joints, and a newer style that makes a whistling sound that increases in pitch the faster one goes on it.
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jakeroot

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2015, 10:50:28 PM »

Newer overpasses in Washington State (and BC) have this pavement style. Whistling at different pitches, I seem to recall a higher pitch being most common.
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Rothman

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2015, 10:53:39 PM »

All I can say is that I slept quite well on family road trips listening to tires roll over the pavement -- whether ours or the semi's as we passed it.
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MarkF

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2015, 01:05:12 AM »

The grooved concrete pavement on I-15 between Nevada mileposts 16 and 25 south of Las Vegas has always seemed noisier than most.
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joshI5

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2015, 01:55:49 AM »

The "tining" is used to add friction to the surface for a safety feature.  Problem with the tining is the noise it creates so different agencies were developing different to try to cut down on the noise.

Minnesota DOT article on this: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/materials/researchastroturf.html

Is tining different from diamond grinding? I associate tining with the vertical lines on the concrete while diamond grinding has to do with the horizontal grooves on the pavement.
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joshI5

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2015, 02:09:03 AM »

The grooved concrete pavement on I-15 between Nevada mileposts 16 and 25 south of Las Vegas has always seemed noisier than most.

That's actually what I was particularly referring to. Quite a long stretch of it, too; I wonder why they decided to groove it like that.
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joshI5

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2015, 02:21:51 AM »

I-64 through the Peninsula uses two types of concrete, an older style that goes cathunk-cathunk-cathunk when one drives over the numerous joints, and a newer style that makes a whistling sound that increases in pitch the faster one goes on it.

Southern California is like that too. Most of the older freeways make no sound, other than that "cathunk" sound you described, while the newer ones have the distinct humming sound--In SoCal I wouldn't describe it as a whistling sound (although I do know what you mean), but here the pitch is much lower and comes across as almost a "roaring" noise.
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roadfro

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2015, 03:53:56 AM »

Is tining different from diamond grinding? I associate tining with the vertical lines on the concrete while diamond grinding has to do with the horizontal grooves on the pavement.

Diamond grinding is a process used in pavement restoration by which the surface of the existing pavement is ground down to smooth out irregularities in the pavement. While the result of diamond grinding is similar to the grooving seen on new concrete pavements, I believe those grooves on new pavements are created via a separate method.
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Scott5114

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2015, 05:08:58 AM »

Kansas has a distinct whistling sound that rises in pitch as you speed up. At 70 mph, it's around a B♭. When you cross onto a bridge, it drops in pitch, going down to about an F or so.

I met a guy at the 2008 Chicago roadmeet who said he knew all of the sounds of the pavement in his local area well enough that he could judge where he was on the highway system well enough from just the sound.
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ET21

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2015, 11:01:31 AM »

Since they redid the Fox River Bridge, there's a concrete section going westbound on I-88 that sounds like a monster is underneath your car growling at you for crossing  :-D
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myosh_tino

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2015, 01:23:19 PM »

The grooved concrete pavement on I-15 between Nevada mileposts 16 and 25 south of Las Vegas has always seemed noisier than most.

That's actually what I was particularly referring to. Quite a long stretch of it, too; I wonder why they decided to groove it like that.

This is what I call "Freeway Whine" and I have heard it on that stretch of I-15 and on I-5 through Oregon.  Oddly enough, when I-15 was widened to 6 lanes, the new left lane was grooved in such a way that it did not produce the "whine".
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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2015, 01:56:56 PM »

Nearly all the freeways in Phoenix now have rubberized asphalt overlays, but years ago, the grooves in the concrete were perpendicular to the direction of travel and they made a whistling sound that was quite a bit louder than the "clunk-clunk-clunk" of L.A. freeways.
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hubcity

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2015, 03:28:54 PM »

Some folks get a bit creative with it...

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Michael

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2015, 07:31:09 PM »

After being around this forum for a while, I found out that I wasn't the only one that liked the sound of concrete pavement.  I even have a friend who admitted to liking it when I asked after they commented on the noise while going over a bridge.  I did some digging to find an old post I made about concrete pavement:

But I LOVE the ka-thump ka-thump noise!  Could we get them to stop?  Putting in the rebars defeats the point of having a concrete road (the cool sounds) in the first place!

You'll like this video then.  I like the whistling noise, myself.

When I was reading US-43|72's post (reply #8 on the first page) about different pavement types, I did some Googling, and found this page from WSDOT about pavement types.

The video I linked to is a northbound drive on the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse, and is a typical sound for NYSDOT bridges.  Between 12 and 16 seconds, the pitch is higher than normal.  The WSDOT page covers various pavement types (asphalt and concrete) and has photos of them.

During the 2009-2011 Thruway reconstruction between Exits 39 and 40, they used concrete pavement with longitudinal tining.  I was hoping for transverse tining so it would whistle.  The longitudinal tining has a growling sound, which can be heard in these two YouTube videos:
(skip to 51 seconds in to hear it without music)

When I went on a road trip to Atlanta in January, I noticed that concrete pavement was fairly common from Virginia south, and much of it had transverse tining.  Some of it was old enough to have tire tracks with worn off tining.

Some railroad crossings with metal plates have a whistling sound.  Here's a Street View image of one east of Auburn on NY 5.

Lastly, while going to Binghamton with a friend one time, I knew he was speeding because the whistle of the bridges was higher pitched than normal.  When that same friend calls me from his car, I can sometimes figure out where he is based on the length of the whistling sound if I know where he's going.
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pumpkineater2

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2015, 08:04:23 PM »

Nearly all the freeways in Phoenix now have rubberized asphalt overlays, but years ago, the grooves in the concrete were perpendicular to the direction of travel and they made a whistling sound that was quite a bit louder than the "clunk-clunk-clunk" of L.A. freeways.

I remember when the freeways in phoenix made that wonderful whistling noise. Although rubberized asphalt is nice, I really miss that sound. It always sounded so cool when getting on or off the freeway, hearing the changing pitch.

It's too bad that it's almost nonexistent now in Phoenix.

I've noticed that some freeways are starting to get the "clunk-clunk-clunk" sound. For example the northwest corner of Loop 101 around union hills.
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joshI5

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2015, 02:33:04 AM »

After being around this forum for a while, I found out that I wasn't the only one that liked the sound of concrete pavement.  I even have a friend who admitted to liking it when I asked after they commented on the noise while going over a bridge.  I did some digging to find an old post I made about concrete pavement:

But I LOVE the ka-thump ka-thump noise!  Could we get them to stop?  Putting in the rebars defeats the point of having a concrete road (the cool sounds) in the first place!

You'll like this video then.  I like the whistling noise, myself.

When I was reading US-43|72's post (reply #8 on the first page) about different pavement types, I did some Googling, and found this page from WSDOT about pavement types.

The video I linked to is a northbound drive on the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse, and is a typical sound for NYSDOT bridges.  Between 12 and 16 seconds, the pitch is higher than normal.  The WSDOT page covers various pavement types (asphalt and concrete) and has photos of them.

During the 2009-2011 Thruway reconstruction between Exits 39 and 40, they used concrete pavement with longitudinal tining.  I was hoping for transverse tining so it would whistle.  The longitudinal tining has a growling sound, which can be heard in these two YouTube videos:
(skip to 51 seconds in to hear it without music)

Lastly, while going to Binghamton with a friend one time, I knew he was speeding because the whistle of the bridges was higher pitched than normal.  When that same friend calls me from his car, I can sometimes figure out where he is based on the length of the whistling sound if I know where he's going.

The noise from all three videos are much more high pitched than the ones I'm used to in California. Most of them are more of a lower-pitched roaring/grinding noise, although rarely I'll come across a higher-pitched sound closer to the kind in the videos. There's quiet a large portion of the I-10 in downtown L.A. where that's apparent, but unfortunately it's so backed up I can never drive fast enough to hear it  :angry:

From my observations, Florida's is quite unique. The grinding noise is completely absent, and instead it's more of a high-pitched hum.
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vdeane

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2015, 02:42:40 PM »

I've noticed that some freeways are starting to get the "clunk-clunk-clunk" sound. For example the northwest corner of Loop 101 around union hills.
That sound is actually spalling of the concrete.
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theFXexpert

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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2015, 12:57:55 PM »

I love the sound concrete pavement makes. I feel the tapping sound adds rhythm to my driving. I think I-81 near the Scranton area was one of my favorite concrete sections. I also enjoy Georgia's concrete.

Although, most of the bridges on I-75 south of the northern junction of 275 don't sound as nice as most other bridges in Florida. The bridges going over the Little Manatee River and the Alafia River have an awful grinding noise; particularly in the southbound direction. The southeast corner of I-295 in Jacksonville also seems to have a slightly unpleasant grinding noise in some places as well.

I-4 between SR44 and I-95 was in the process of getting 3-laned and replacing asphalt with concrete. I drove on the recently opened westbound section last April and there was very little extra noise.
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Re: Sound when driving over concrete pavement
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2015, 02:34:14 PM »

When I go on US 92 westbound leaving Daytona Beach, I hear clunk-clunk sounds but in the middle between Deland and Daytona Beach, it
makes less noise.
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