Case History – StoneTree Sound Wall
Reducing the Noise of the Sea-to-Sky Highway in Lions Bay
As you cruise along the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler, you can take in the natural beauty that is British Columbia. As the road moves into the steep hillside above Howe Sound, you will come across the quaint village of Lions Bay, a community that embraces the ocean life and outdoor activities their surrounding landscape provides.
With the Sea-to-Sky known as one of the most dangerous portions of highway in B.C., safety, efficiency and traffic volume capability improvements were in need; especially before the arrival of the 2010 Winter Games being held in Whistler.
Used to the 2 lane highway running along the Howe Sound’s coast, the long overdue improvements and expansion of the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project would mean a huge increase in traffic volume. “We were very concerned about the traffic noise of the four lane highway cutting through our residential centre,” commented Brenda Broughton, the Mayor of Lions Bay.
Preserving the quiet neighbourhoods of the small town was of high importance, so the Ministry of Transport decided to install a sound wall. Typically made up of concrete elements, sound walls reflect noise upwards and out of hearing range. “For Lions Bay the aesthetics of the sound wall was critical. We also wanted to protect the property values for our Lions Bay home owners,” pointed out Mayor Broughton.
Chosen to supply and install the sound wall was Canadian company Solid Rock Fencing Ltd. Through the use of the StoneTree™ product line, Solid Rock was able to fulfill project requirements without detracting for the surrounding natural beauty. While the product’s ease of assembly and money saving design are made evident by engineered specifications, an attractive textured appearance is achieved on both sides by casting the panels vertically.
To accommodate multiple site conditions 4 different footing were designed and installed, providing the StoneTree™ wall with greater structural integrity; ensuring the safety of the sound wall while fulfilling the necessary high wind and seismic specifications.
Instead of two separate pieces, the column and panel elements are formed together creating a single, solid structure; this contributes to reduced project costs by allowing simpler, more time effective installation. The sheer size of the 15’ wide pieces meant less excavation and concrete work were required to install each ground level panel, leading to an approximate project savings of 30% on foundations costs alone.
Adding to the engineered stability of the wall panels is synthetic fibre mesh which increases strength; while the column section in reinforced with rebar. As the 8’ tall panels are stacked to meet the 16’ height requirement, their unique design allows the top 6” of the finished wall to remain flexible without breaking. The ability to move with forces such as wind allows the wall to withstand natural pressures, including that of a hurricane.
Now standing strong, while looking beautiful, this state-of-the-art sound wall system is something the people of Lions Bay can trust to maintain the quiet, scenic surroundings of their ocean side community.
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