This summer, a 4-mile stretch of the Dulles Connector Road became the first phase of a larger project to include absorbing sound wall containing a sound-absorbing technology called SoftSound. Managed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Transportation, this highway serves a 16-mile corridor between Route I-66 in Falls Church, Va., and the Dulles International Airport.
Currently, work is underway on a total of 277,000 square feet of precast concrete sound wall situated on the west side of the road between Chain Bridge Road/Route 123 and I-66. The sound walls will mitigate noise from Dulles Connector Road traffic and the new Dulles Metrorail Silver Line extension, which is being constructed at-grade in the median and on elevated-rail flyovers.
The ground-mounted sound walls are made from precast concrete and include a sound-absorptive finish on the roadway side. Smith-Midland Corp., of Midland, Va., has delivered up to 4,000 square feet of precast panels to the jobsite daily. The new structure will replace a deteriorating wooden wall that weaves through several residential neighborhoods.
“The DOT wanted a new wall that was not only permanent, but that would also create a quieter environment for area residents,” says Matthew Smith, vice president of sales and marketing for Smith-Midland. Similar care is being taken during installation, with contractor Lane Construction erecting the structure to minimize noise intrusion on the adjoining neighborhoods.
A proprietary material that is molded and compressed to meet the desired technical and aesthetic requirements, SoftSound combines a highly-specialized mineralized wood-chip aggregate using cement as a binder in a specific and exacting manufacturing process. Once installed, SoftSound surpasses other products for sound absorption, durability, strength, and moldability.
SoftSound has been extensively tested to meet or exceed all state DOT requirements. SoftSound’s extensive production control program ensures consistent quality, appearance, and performance.
“By adopting a strict approach to quality, we can avoid some of the performance issues associated with other sound absorptive products,” said Moffette Tharpe, managing director for Easi-Set Worldwide, SoftSound’s developer and licensor, “and ensure more successful project outcomes for the long term.”