California Department of Transportation
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Materials Engineering and Testing Services

New Products

New Product Submittal

noise/sound Barriers


Noise/Sound Barrier New Product Submittal Package

The Noise/Sound Barrier New Product Submittal Package (NPSP) must provide sufficient information so that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) may assess the barrier and determine if additional tests are required.  The following information may be submitted electronically (preferred method) or by mail.  If submitted by mail, fourteen (14) copies of the information requested must be included, except as noted:

  1. Noise/Sound Barrier New Product Submittal Form (NPSF), with appropriate signatures.
  2. Material specifications for important components of the product.
  3. Photographs with close-up views are required. A videotape (one copy) is optional.
  4. Design calculations signed by a Civil Engineer registered in California.
  5. Design plans and detail sheets signed by a Civil Engineer registered in California. If possible, submit engineering plans in Microstation or Autocad format.
  6. Test data (see details below).
  7. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), if required. If use of the products requires handling by Caltrans employees, the MSDS will be forwarded to the Office of Health and Safety Services for review and acceptance. NOTE: For the protection of Caltrans employees, Material Safety Data Sheets that do not list the new product ingredients or components will be rejected.
  8. Quality control plan, if product utilizes recycled materials.
  9. Product specimen: Include a reasonable specimen of the product. The specimen should be no greater than [approximately 12 x 12 x12 in. and weigh no more than 25 lbs. If a reasonable specimen of your product exceeds these parameters, please contact the New Products Desk, so other arrangements can be made to view and/or test your product. Note: In general, there should be no loss of performance characteristics or degradation of appearance, color, or texture due to a flux of temperature (freezing to extreme heat) or from wet to dry climates.
  10. Installation instructions
  11. Other pertinent information.

Incomplete Noise/Sound Barrier New Product Submittal Packages will not be considered and will be discarded after 30 days.

Starting on October 6, 2014, all submissions must be electronic, and submitted to the New Product email address. No Mailed Submittals will be accepted. E-mail completed New Product Submittal Package to

Test Data

If you are submitting a block wall system or alternative block wall system, please include test data from performing ASTM C140-02, “Standard Methods of Sampling and Testing Concrete Masonry Units” and using ASTM C90-02, “Standard Specifications for Loadbearing Concrete Masonry Units”.  For alternative block wall systems, also include test data from performing ASTM D5048-97, “Measuring the Comparative Burning Characteristics and Resistance to Burn-Through of Solid Plastics Using 125-mm Flame”.  Caltrans requires an average flaming plus glowing time of less than 3 seconds.  Also, provide information on performance properties of the material when exposed to Ultra Violet (UV) light.  Caltrans requires that exterior surfaces show no chalking, cracking or checking, and a maximum color difference, Delta E* (ASTM D2244-02, using the CIE 1976 L*a*b* Uniform Color Space and Color Difference Equation) of 2.0 after 3000 hours of accelerated weathering in accordance with ASTM G155-00a.  The evaluation process will require additional testing to satisfy a wide variety of functional requirements in addition to those initial tests listed above.  Details will be provided subsequent to satisfactory completion of the needs assessment phase.

All noise/sound barriers must meet the following acoustic standards:

  1. New noise/sound barrier systems must abate traffic noise a minimum of 5 dBA Leq (h).
  2. Evaluate with ASTM E90-99: “Standard Test Method for Laboratory Measurement of Airborne Sound Transmission Loss of Building Partitions and Elements”.  Test results must indicate a Transmission Loss (TL) that is 25 or greater to be acceptable.

If your product is to be classified by Caltrans as an absorptive barrier product, it must be evaluated with ASTM C423-02: “Standard Test Method for Sound Absorption and Sound Absorption Coefficients by the Reverberation Room Method”.  Test results must indicate a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of not less than 0.85 to be acceptable.

A laboratory that is accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program or accredited by Mutual Recognition Arrangement with the National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation Program must perform the aforementioned acoustic standards test procedures.

Product Evaluation

Caltrans evaluates any new noise/sound barrier product or construction method that is currently not approved for use, including substantial variations or modifications to a previously approved noise/sound barrier system.  The first step in the process is a concept assessment.  If it is found that use of your product may be beneficial to Caltrans operations, you will be notified and an evaluation process will begin.  The time required for product evaluation depends on the product and will be discussed with you at the time you are notified.

Caltrans may require that you construct a test section in order to determine the construction and noise-attenuation qualities of the materials being used.  Construction of a test section is not ordinarily required if you have already constructed the proposed barrier and it is available for inspection and testing in California.  If a test section is necessary, you will be required to do the following:

  1. Provide plans and specifications signed by a Civil Engineer registered in California.
  2. Construct a test section at your expense.  Caltrans will provide the minimum requirements for a test section.
  3. Construct the test section either on or off State right of way.  If the barrier is to be constructed on State right of way, Caltrans will provide a site plan and will assist you in obtaining the necessary Caltrans permits.
  4. Schedule the work so that a Caltrans representative can be present during construction and testing.
  5. Conduct any specific tests that Caltrans identified as necessary during its initial evaluation.

Product Approval

If a barrier is approved at any step in this process, the barrier will be placed on Caltrans list of approved noise barrier designs.  The barrier may then be competitively bid as an approved alternative in future construction contracts.  Placement on the approved alternative list does not guarantee that the noise barrier will be included as an alternative on any individual project.  The selection of alternatives for a specific project is determined by Caltrans through the project development process, which may include public input.

Modification of Design Standards

If Caltrans modifies its design standards for noise/sound barriers, you are responsible for modifying your design to comply with the new standards.  If you change details or specifications, Caltrans must review those changes.


If you have questions regarding the submittal of your product,
please contact the New Products Desk at: or (916) 227-7073.



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