Expect delays in Death Valley

Expect delays in Death ValleyDEATH VALLEY, CALIF. – Death Valley National Park visitors may experience up to 30-minute delays on roads this spring during road maintenance projects. The projects will allow the National Park Service to research the acoustic impacts of various pavement surfaces as well as extend the life of the pavement.

Construction work is scheduled through May 26. During that time, there will be traffic delays of up to 30 minutes on Badwater Road, Beatty Cuttoff Road/Daylight Pass and Mud Canyon Road. Many parking lots will be half-closed for one day at a time.

“We’re excited that this paving project will include a research component that looks at how pavement types affect noise from traffic in the park,” said Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds. “This will help us minimize noise heard by visitors at popular hikes like Badwater.”

The project will use four types of pavement surfaces, which will allow the National Park Service to compare noise generated by vehicles driving in those areas. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center will also compare the durability of the pavement surfaces.

Most roads will be resurfaced with 3/8-inch chip seal. Badwater Road will have six half-mile sections of test surfaces, including a quarter-inch chip seal, Type II micro-surfacing, and Type III micro-surfacing.

Death Valley National Park has some of the most quiet and peaceful landscapes in the National Park System, according to NPS acoustic biologist Ashley Pipkin. “You can hear road noise from surprising distances in Death Valley because it is so quiet. Think about how you could hear a whisper in a library but not in a crowded restaurant.”

Story First Published: 2018-02-09