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OAK Celebrates Completion of Aircraft Sound Insulation Program in City of Alameda

OAK Celebrates Completion of Aircraft Sound Insulation Program in City of Alameda

Press Releases
March 23rd, 2006

--Six Year Program Results in 89 Percent Participation Rate and Noise Reduction Inside Homes--

Oakland International Airport (OAK) today celebrates the completion of the sound insulation program in the city of Alameda. Port of Oakland/OAK staff, consultants and contractors will join with a number of Alameda residents representing the 558 homeowners who participated in the program over the past six years.

Sound insulation improvements were offered to 629 eligible homeowners (593 town homes and 36 single-family homes) located on Bay Farm Island in Alameda. A total of 558 homeowners participated in the program, resulting in a participation rate of 89 percent.

Tests were conducted on 82 homes after completion of sound insulation improvements. Results showed that the average interior sound level was reduced by 5 to 7 decibels (dB). Energy efficiency was also improved inside homes.

OAK's sound insulation program in Alameda began in 2000 with a pilot phase, continuing with six more phases with approximately 100 homes per phase through March 2006. Acoustical improvements of approximately $32,000 were installed in each home. Improvements may have included new acoustically rated windows, doors, attic insulation and a fresh air exchange option.

"We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the multi-phase sound insulation program in Alameda," said Steven Grossman, director of aviation for the Port of Oakland, which operates the airport. "Achieving a participation rate of 89 percent is no small feat, and we thank the many homeowners and project team members who collaborated on this program to get such great results."

The program's eligibility area was defined based upon the noise impact area within the 65dB Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) contour measured in 1995. CNEL is the FAA's standard metric for measuring airport noise exposure. Due to the advancement of current aircraft quieter technology and performance, the aircraft noise impact area has actually decreased in size since then. According to California's Noise Standards, the estimated number of homes within most recent airport 65dB CNEL contours is zero.

Extensive outreach to eligible Alameda homeowners was conducted throughout the six-year program. Outreach included direct mailings, telephone calls, knocking on doors, group meetings, media outreach, newsletters and communications with homeowner associations, property management companies and realtors. Follow up contacts were made with homeowners who initially refused to participate. Also, positive word of mouth from participants whose homes were completed assisted in the success of the program.

Surveys were sent to participating homeowners after sound insulation improvements were complete. Homeowner comments included the following:

"The outside sound is very low now and keeping the heat in and the cold out during winter is great too."

"I was impressed by the promptness and courtesy exhibited by workers. The contractors made sure that everything was done to my satisfaction."

"Great job and smooth process from the beginning until the finished product. Thank you."

The $18.7 million sound insulation program in Alameda was partially funded by the federally monitored Airport Improvement Program (AIP), a grant program that provides for capital improvements at airports and is funded through taxes from passenger tickets and aviation fuel. Additional funding came from passenger facility charges (PFCs) levied on the tickets of all departing passengers.

Noise exposure from aircraft operating at OAK is continually monitored year-round via the airport's noise monitoring system. OAK's master plan forecasts that noise exposure will not increase.

The sound insulation program in Alameda is part of OAK's overall noise management program. For more than 30 years, OAK has made continuous efforts to develop programs that minimize noise on surrounding communities. For more information, visit oaklandairport.com.

OAK has over 200 flights a day on 12 domestic and international carriers to 39 nonstop destinations, including Atlanta, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, the Hawaiian Islands including Hilo (begins Apr. 27), New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Mexico and seasonal service to the Azores (Portugal), Costa Rica and Sun Valley, Idaho. OAK is the regional distribution center and is the designated Pacific gateway for FedEx. OAK served 14.4 million passengers and handled over 671,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2005.

In 2004, OAK broke ground on a $300 million Terminal Improvement Program, designed to add even more convenience, security and service to the travel experience once completed in 2008. In Terminal 2, the program encompasses a new seven-gate concourse and waiting areas; expanded ticketing, security and baggage claim facilities; and a modern, centralized food, beverage and retail shopping area. Additional improvements to the terminal roadway and curbsides will improve access and ease traffic congestion in front of both terminals. Visit oaklandairport.com for more information.