WSP USA Broadens Air and Noise Capabilities

The firm’s enhanced air and noise services are centered around the built environment, including air quality improvement, reduction of greenhouse gases, improved acoustics and vibration mitigation.

Recent enhancements at WSP USA that will improve the wellbeing of people in the built environment has the firm making a little noise.

As little noise as possible, actually.

The WSP Air and Noise Services group is providing public and private clients with a full slate of air quality and noise/vibration expertise that have a direct effect on people in their everyday lives.

“The services offered by our group are key elements in a sustainable and environmentally sound project,” said Alice Lovegrove, national director of the Air and Noise Practice at WSP. “Our air quality and noise services help to ensure that a project is built and operates according to applicable standards and regulations.”

The public is becoming more aware of environmental issues and the impact they can have on their own quality of life, whether it is the exhaust fumes from a nearby highway, or construction noises from a neighboring building.

“As of late, the air quality, noise and vibration impacts of construction activities have become an increasing concern,” Lovegrove said. “In the past, the concern was mainly with project operations, and construction was written-off as a temporary impact. This is no longer the case, especially with mega-projects that take years to build.”

WSP Air and Noise is a national service group located in eight cities throughout the U.S., and available to private and public clients who are working with WSP on a myriad of projects. The leadership team includes Alice Lovegrove as the national director, Michael McKibben as the director of Environment, and Steven Paquette, WSP president of Water and Environment.

The Air and Noise group is part of WSP’s efforts to help clients become Future Ready™—to think beyond the conventional and prepare for the changes and challenges the world will face, and improve the overall quality of life through thoughtful approaches and awareness of the positive impacts we can create within the built environment.

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©WSP USA

Noise impact is replicated and analyzed for a field study in Miami.

Deeply Embedded

WSP has created a cooperative network of professionals within the firm who share work and build upon each other’s strengths and technical expertise to provide clients with a holistic view of their project beginning at the design stage, explore its environmental impacts, and propose cost-effective approaches.

“WSP is deeply embedded with projects and clients throughout the U.S., and we are usually among the first to identify a particular air quality or noise/vibration issue,” Lovegrove said. “With our national expertise, clients are confident that when an issue arises, it’s usually something WSP has already dealt with somewhere else.”

Recently, WSP monitored the wildlife at Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut to ensure that noise and vibration from neighboring pile driving would not stress the animals. “That’s probably the most fun we’ve had on a project lately!” Lovegrove added.

WSP has been involved with the air quality and noise analysis and mitigation on several other projects, including:

  • air quality and noise analysis of the construction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle,
  • noise analysis for the reconstruction of LaGuardia Airport in New York,
  • air quality and noise analyses for the Gordie Howe Bridge between the U.S. and Canada,
  • traffic noise analyses for North Carolina Department of Transportation, and
  • on-call air quality/greenhouse gas/energy contract with New York State Department of Transportation since 2010.

“We’ve also recently supported some large environmental wins in Texas,” Lovegrove said.

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©CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL

WSP USA has been overseeing the air quality and climate change analyses for California High Speed Rail for over a decade.

Keeping Up

Air and noise services have existed at the firm since the 1980s, back when it was known as the Advanced Technology national practice. Many of WSP’s current staff have more than 20 years of experience—and a few with more than 30 years—providing these services.

The creation of this national group will create a national knowledge database of air and noise experience on projects of all shapes and sizes. “Our geographical distribution, which covers the East and West coasts and points in-between, allows us to have a local presence while tapping into a national pool of talent,” Lovegrove said.

Air quality and greenhouse gas regulations are constantly updating and can vary greatly from state to state, and states and cities all have different procedures for addressing noise and vibration impacts.

“Our staff is fluent in multiple city and state guidelines, regardless of where they physically sit, and we make sure to stay on top of those regulations both locally and as a national group, allowing us to collaborate on various projects across the country,” Lovegrove said. “Air quality and noise models are continually evolving, and our group has extensive training and experience with all these models and we share those skills on a national basis.”

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©2019 WSP USA

The Air and Noise Group held its first team meeting in Orlando in January, bringing everyone together from across the U.S. to set the course for the new organizational group.

Awards

Over the years, WSP staff and projects have received awards in multiple fields for work on acoustics and noise mitigation and air quality, including:

  • 2018 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Washington Engineering Excellence Awards – Gold Award for Transportation and the People’s Choice Award for the Alaska Way Viaduct Project.
  • American Road Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Globe Award for the noise control program at the Central Artery/Tunnel Project in Boston.
  • California Department of Transportation, Excellence in Transportation Award for the “Noise Abatement for State Route 15/40th Street” project in the category of transportation related facilities.
  • ACEC Silver Award for working with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection in updating and improving New York City’s noise regulation.
  • Certificate of Appreciation from NYC MTA Capital Construction for the East Side Access Tunnel Blasting Program.

“Our air and noise services ensure that projects are not impacting people, structures and animals in a harmful way,” Lovegrove said. “As sustainability and the quality of the built environment play a more important role in our overall wellbeing, these analyses become even more critical for both the construction and operation of a project.”

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