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New study looks into how truck noise impacts Southwest Detroit

Study suggests noise levels exceed guideline levels

DETROIT – Sleep loss and stress -- it’s the impact truck noise is having on people in Southwest Detroit, according to a University of Michigan study.

Thomasenia Weston has lived in Southwest Detroit for 20 years and said she can’t remember the last time truck traffic didn’t wake her up at night.

“I have reached out to people in regards to getting my steps fixed, getting my foundation fixed, getting me some type of reimbursement,” Weston said.

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“It’s relentless. They have no consideration. This is a community,” said Detroit resident Savon Johnson.

Truck traffic has been an issue in that area due to its proximity to the Ambassador Bridge.

Compounding the problem is construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge, which has re-routed truck traffic and increased exposure to diesel exhaust particulate matter

“On one side, you’re getting a lot of noise and you’re also getting a lot more pollution. This is adding to what we call ‘cumulative risk,’” said Stuart Batterman, University of Michigan professor of environmental health science.

U of M partnered with the Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition to evaluate the impact of truck noise in the neighborhood.

“What was particularly surprising to us was that residential streets, in many cases, had a constant flow of heavy duty diesel vehicles as well. And this is along parks and along areas which we wouldn’t expect these trucks to be,” Batterman said.

The study found noise levels in the area exceeded guideline levels. And it has an impact on sleep health and cognitive performance.

“I understand we all have a job to do. But at the end of the day, these companies are not considerate of the communities that they’ve been stationed in,” Johnson said.

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