Cedar Rapids residents notice more traffic noise since derecho

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Some people in Cedar Rapids are noticing more traffic noise since the derecho.

Emma Hanigan, the Iowa state urban forester said leaves help to deflect the noise. Cedar Rapids lost roughly 70% of its tree canopy during the storm.

Megan Fernandez can now see Interstate 380 from the backyard of her northeast Cedar Rapids home.

”We used to not be able to see the interstate or really hear the train much and now you know it’s kind of like a fun party every night,” Fernandez said.

The Fernandez family lost 14 trees in the derecho which used to act as a barrier between their home and I-380.

”We’re going to see over time a lot of those reductions in benefits like noise pollutions, noise pollutions, flash flooding and all of the associated things with tree loss,” Hanigan said.

Hanigan said people can help by planting more trees even though it’s not an immediate fix.

”Trees take such a long time to grow and we really get the most benefits 10, 30, 100 years from now so we’re really reliant on who has planted before us,” Hanigan said.

While we’ve heard from multiple people in Cedar Rapids who have noticed increased traffic noise since the storm, the city told us they’ve received one inquiry about the interstate noise which they shared with the Department of Transportation. The DOT said there are no plans to add noise walls, but they could add signs to prohibit truck engine brake noise if the city council were to pass an ordinance.

For now, the Fernandez family is making adjustments to living with the noise

”We started sleeping with a fan, yeah I mean I’ve lived near railroad tracks my whole life and so I’ve always been able to sleep through all that but with ambulances and sirens and things that are necessary it’s definitely a lot louder you can hear everything now,” Fernandez said.

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