KENNEBUNK (AP) – Beryl Oswell has tried putting mattresses against a door and window in her home to block out the noise from the Maine Turnpike.

But even that doesn’t help quiet engine breaks and rumbling mufflers from trucks at the nearby Kennebunk rest stop.

Help, though, may be on the way. The Maine Turnpike Authority and Maine State Police have announced they intend to crack down on the unnecessary use of engine brakes and illegal souped-up truck mufflers.

Turnpike officials have put up signs near rest areas and toll plazas to make truckers aware of noise laws.

For Oswell, any help is welcome. Back in 1953, life was quiet when she and her family moved to their house on Alewive Road.

“Anything will help,” she said.

Residents who live near turnpike rest stops and toll plazas have complained for years about truckers who screech their brakes or use loud mufflers. Diesel fumes from idling trucks and the persistent hum of traffic are also concerns.

State Police Lt. Randall Nichols said police will give special attention to noise from engine brakes and illegally modified exhaust systems.

“The engine brake is an annoying, objectionable sound that tends to wake people up at night,” he said. “Sometimes the sound can carry for miles.”

Maria Fuentes, executive director of the Maine Better Transportation Association, said most truck drivers comply with state regulations.

“There’s a very small minority who perhaps use those brakes excessively and the result is that it does create some disruption in neighborhoods along the turnpike corridor,” she said.

Residents along the turnpike say noise in general has gotten worse as turnpike traffic has increased. In the past 10 years, the number of vehicles using the highway has grown from 39.4 million to 57.8 million, according to the turnpike authority.

At the least, Oswell would like to have a sound barrier erected to help reduce the noise.

“I’d love a good night’s sleep,” she said.

AP-ES-05-26-03 1311EDT



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