• Posted Sep 15, 2017

The High Trestle Trail Bridge's LED lightS will shut off early due to excessive noise

The High Trestle Trail Bridge has become an icon for Iowa. Thousands of trail lovers ride, run, walk, roller-blade or stroll over the bridge each month.

Will shutting off the High Trestle Trail Bridge lights 1 1/2 hours earlier curb the loud noise and and vandalism that has been occurring this Summer?

The Boone County Conservation Board decided to shut off the lights 90 minutes earlier starting Sept 25th due to to? numerous complaints of trail users being loud and producing excessive noise late at night. There were other reports that there was some vandalism too.

First we want to say, we will focus on the noise complaints since we couldn't find any details about vandalism on the bridge this year. A Google search shows a man was charged with vandalism in July 2011 for stealing LED lights.

The normal time the shut-off time for the LED bridge lights is midnight between April 1st - Nov 1st, and 9 pm between March 31st and Oct 31st.

We understand that the LED lights attract people to the bridge like a moth to a flame. But will shutting off the lights earlier curb excessive noise? We don't think so. In our early party days, we'd probably party MORE without the lights on. You don't see traffic cops at every stop sign because a few drivers ran it, so why punish the masses for a few loud trail users?

This change may actually increase trail use, and cause more traffic and parking since the lights will be on less each night.

We know this subject hits a nerve for trail users. At the time we posted this Feature, there were over 90 comments and 647 shares on the Sept 12th Boone County Conservation Board's Facebook post

Noise Ordinance

Google informs us that Noise Ordinance restrictions has been an ongoing issues in Boone County for years.To date, we don't believe Boone County has an official noise ordinance.

On July 7th 2017, the Boone County Journal reported the Boone County Planning, Zoning and Building Committee discussed a possible county noise ordinance. The proposed noise ordinance would bar loud noise from a 75-foot distance over property line. This 75-foot rule was called a “slippery slope” by several board members. There were concerns that a noise ordinance would disrupt Boone County’s rural community. As many residents live on farms, farm and agricultural equipment could potentially cause some problems with a noise ordinance. Some members agreed that drawing the line as to what is normal for noise level in an agricultural community could be difficult.

In Feb 2012 it took seven months of debate and revisions to change the city of Boone's noise ordinance which restricts sound measured at or withing 10 feet of a venue's property line to 70 decibels from 10pm to midnight. NOTE: we said the City of Boone, NOT Boone County. We were unable to locate the ordinance at the county level, but cannot imagine it would be more restrictive than the city of Boone.

Even with the city's ordinance change, you won't get a fine until after four written warnings. After that you are subject to a $100, $200 and $500 fines.

So, we are guessing that there is no noise ordinance to enforce, so shutting off the lights earlier to deter trail users was the best solution at the time to appease nearby home owners.

Even if there was a noise ordinance in place, we don't believe a shout on a bridge would exceed the decibel restriction of a noise ordinance unless you were the lead singer of Pantera, Terry Glaze.

While we don't agree with the solution, we respect it, the trail, the bridge and the adjacent property owners. The popularity of the bridge is great for us cyclists, but the trail isn't in our backyard either and we can see how the 'traffic' could get old after awhile.

How many decibels are excessive?

60 decibels - the sound of a human voice
70 decibels - TV on loud, vacuum cleaner
75 decibels - busy restaurant
80 decibels - alarm clock, doorbell, freight traffic
85 decibels - circular skill, mixer
90 decibels - screaming or yelling
100 decibels - air compressor, machinery in factory, fighter jet at 300 meters
110 decibels - rock concert
120 decibels - human voice at its loudest

Public Hearing

You are welcome to attend the next Boone County Conservation Board meeting on Monday, October 9th at 6pm to discuss the "Lights Out" decision. The meeting will be held at the Boone County Courthouse at 201 State Street Boone, IA 50036 MAP. There is a Facebook Event too.


This isn't the end of the world. The lights will still be on for several hours each night. The trail is in GREAT shape and Iowa is a great place to live. Life is too short. Live it!

If you have enough passion, show up to the next meeting and voice your opinions and help with a resolution.





how about a conspiracy theory this is being in an effort that is 2 parts: Cost savings and saves the environment and supports the Paris Agreement. Nevermind those Windmills on the horizon.

#1 - daveroll posted Sep 15, 2017

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