Moving off the highway to hell

Steps the Gyslings took to ensure highway sound would not be an issue before they purchased the property:

Spoke to several home owners close to the highway who had had extensive noise works carried out on their homes, courtesy of RMS.

Spoke to a senior RMS manager and were informed the highway would be moved further west, on the other side of the mound.

"On the strength of that we negotiated and bought the property, thinking the highway was going to move."

FOR two years Tracey Gysling has struggled behind the scenes battling the RMS over noise abatement measures as trucks shake her home 80m away from the Pacific Hwy.

Inside her home the noise can reach 80 decibels or more as the B-double trucks roll down a section of highway at Tintenbar.

When the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale upgrade is complete it will get even worse as the speed limit increases to 110kmh.

The constant noise and sleep deprivation has had a severe impact on her health and that of her family.

"I've been trying to play down the impact to try and cope with things but I'm seeing a counsellor, I'm having health and anxiety issues, I've had dental issues and bruxism where I've ground the enamel off the teeth when I'm asleep," she said.

"As a parent, quite often I'm in tears when I put my 10-year-old to bed there and if there's a big convoy… she'll just go 'mummy I can't sleep, the trucks are so noisy'."

It wasn't until she reached the "end of my tether" that she finally decided to speak out, after exhausting all other options.

Before purchasing the Kinvara Ridge Rd property at Tintenbar, Ms Gysling and her husband Edouard did everything they could to ensure the new path of the Pacific Hwy wouldn't impede on their new property.

The family relocated from North Queensland, picking the Northern Rivers as the perfect spot to invest in a home, enjoy semi-retirement and raise their two girls, aged 10 and 15.

They were led to believe the new Pacific Highway would be built along saddle road, about 70m further west of the old highway.

It was still close, but the ridge between their home and the highway would block the majority of the noise.

To the Gysling family's dismay, the new highway was built on top of the ridge, just metres from the old highway, providing a direct line of sight to their house and no noise buffer.

RMS agreed to conduct noise modelling on the property, however their models only show the average decibels over a set period of time, which the Gyslings say fails to accurately reflect the acute noise peaks from trucks during the night which far exceed 80 decibels.

"When RMS finally agreed to do acoustic attenuation on the house it was grossly inadequate in scope," Ms Gysling said.

"It was simply another band-aid measure.

"We don't want more than the neighbours, less than the neighbours, we just want whatever we're entitled to."

The family said ideally, RMS would construct a noise and light barrier along the Kinvara Rd section of the highway at Tintenbar and fully sound-proof of their home.

Another option would be a buyout of the property or compensation paid and the part of the house closest to the road decommissioned.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said the organisation follows strict guidelines to ensure equality for communities impacted by road projects and to minimise the impact on affected residents.

"Noise goals are also set as part of each project's conditions of approval," the spokesperson said.

"Extensive noise modelling found noise levels before and after the project's opening would be similar near Kinvara Ridge Road. At house noise treatments were carried out on the property at Kinvara Ridge Road

"In 2013 Roads and Maritime offered the current owners further at house noise abatement work but this offer has not yet been accepted.

"Sound barriers are installed for dense residential areas close to the highway and this location does not meet criteria.

"Roads and Maritime will continue to work with the resident to address concerns."

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