SoftSound, Smith-Midland’s absorptive sound wall product is being applied to precast sound panels manufactured as part of the new Washington, DC to Dulles International Airport Metro Rail commuter system expansion. During Phase 1 of this multi-year Virginia DOT project, 2191 panels (277,000 sq. ft.) of sound wall are being installed along a section of the Dulles Commuter Road from Route 123 to Interstate 66 in Fairfax County. The superior absorptive qualities of SoftSound will play an integral part in protecting the adjacent residential neighborhoods from the noise of both the highway traffic and the newly constructed Metro Rail line that will run down the center median. SMC will be delivering up to 4,000 sq. ft. per day, completing Phase 1 installation in early 2015.
General Contractors Hensel Phelps and Athena Construction Group worked with Smith-Midland to manufacturer the 850 foot long x 30 foot high simulated stone retaining wall for the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, DC. M & J Welding completed the welding and wall erection.
Originally designed to be cast in place, Hensel Phelps rethought the process, proposing a design-build project involving the use of a shotcrete wall, and placement of precast concrete panels as a facing. The panels were cast and hand-stained to mimic the look and color variations of a natural stone wall, matching the stone wall located on the nearby Rock Creek Parkway. The wall has all the color variations of a natural wall, and is a permanent penetrating stain that will last indefinitely.
The panels were erected using a crane, and were connected to the shotcrete wall with stainless steel plates and anchors. Seven panels were set per shift, which equaled one panel set per hour. Speed of construction was fast.
In 1980, Smith-Midland Corporation pioneered the use of precast concrete highway sound walls in the United States. Sierra Wall, the first one-piece precast concrete column and panel system, quickly became the gold standard in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.
Now Smith-Midland and its licensing subsidiary Easi-Set Worldwide are proud to introduce the Sierra Wall II, which features a fully integrated, one-piece, pre-stressed extended column and sound panel. The inclusion of the foundation portion of the column, which extends up to 24 feet or more into the earth, sets Sierra Wall II apart from its competition. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials guidelines, this patented design eliminates the need for costly heavy-steel reinforcing cages around the pre-stressed foundation portion of the column.
The combined strength of the integrated supporting/foundation column and panel delivers the highest quality and lowest cost highway sound wall ever offered. The one-piece design also eliminates thousands of linear feet of panel joints, adding significantly to its sound attenuating capacity versus competitive sound wall systems.
Sierra Wall II is available worldwide for licensing to qualified precasters. Smith-Midland and Easi-Set Worldwide fully expect Sierra Wall II to be as successful as its J-J Hooks highway safety barrier, a runaway success, with licensed manufacturers in 37 states and 8 countries. Like J-J Hooks Barrier, Sierra Wall II was engineered to be the industry’s highest performance and lowest cost-to-manufacture sound wall product available on the market.
The just completed Princess Anne Road project brings Smith-Midland’s total SoftSound (sound absorptive noise wall) manufactured, delivered and installed to over one million square feet in less than 4 years. Princess Anne Road is a small, but important project. The wall, located along a residential neighborhood in Virginia Beach, VA, was designed and finished to match the brick and mortar of the nearby VA Beach Municipal Center. Construction of the 650-foot long project consisted of 9,000+ square feet of 8’ x 16’ panels with accompanying precast posts.
The success of the Princess Anne Road plus other previous SoftSound jobs has led to winning another SoftSound project in Virginia Beach. Beginning in 2012, SMC will manufacture over 100,000 square feet of SoftSound panels for a 1.5 mile project on the Nimmo Parkway. These panels will be among the first to incorporate the new Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) landscape design motifs. Special form liners have been developed depicting seashore, farmland, mountain and other signature Virginia landscapes. A successful test of the SoftSound aggregate and a new form liner design was completed in early May, 2012 and accepted by VDOT.
SMC completed construction of precast concrete Soundwall along a new highway in Montgomery County, Maryland east of MD 97 to west of US 29 (the Intercounty Connector). The MD 200 Constructors project is worth more than $7.8 million making it the largest contract in SMC’s 49 year history.
The project included 607,000 sq. ft. of noise barrier panels on the new Intercounty Connector highway between Rockville and Silver Spring, Maryland. The highway will help reduce traffic on the I-495 Beltway in the D.C. area.
The Soundwall panels will be made with SMC’s newly developed Softsound material, a light-weight sound absorptive concrete with multiple finishes, including random cut stone and fractured granite. By combining special aggregates with cement as a binder in a specific and exacting process, SoftSound creates a material that surpasses any other combination of durability, acoustics, thermal, strength and moldability.
According to Matthew Smith, VP, Sales and Marketing, “SoftSound is our latest technological development, keeping SMC/Easi-Set on the leading edge with new products and applications. We are ready to share this new technology with other precasters worldwide through Easi-Set Industries, our licensing subsidiary.”