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Lightweight AIL Sound Walls used in Houston METRORail expansion

September 24, 2015


Lightweight and easy-to-install AIL Sound Walls were recently selected for a particular section of Houston’s major METRORail expansion, where the City of Houston was concerned about protecting their main sewer and storm drainage lines. 

Designed special continuous footing foundation
The City didn’t want a standard precast concrete sound barrier in this section, fearing its weight might damage the pipelines making future repair/maintenance access more difficult. We worked closely with the consultant to design a continuous footing foundation, as traditional drilled pillar footings could not be used due to the underground services.

Part of a design-build project by Houston Rapid Transit Joint Venture

The METRORail expansion was part of a $2 billion design-build project by Houston Rapid Transit Joint Venture (HRT JV) that included four new stations and 17 miles of new track. The HRT JV team included Parsons Transportation Group, Granite Construction Company, Kiewit Texas Construction L.P., and Stacy and Witbeck, Inc. 

light-rail-transit-sound-barrier-wall tuf-barrier-reflective-sound-walls-protection-padding

Donning the pads for the University of Houston practice field

The barrier also bordered the University of Houston’s football practice field and the University was concerned about protecting their football players. They asked that we design the barrier to allow for mounting heavy protective pads on the back. 

This was a late add-on to the project, so we had to react quickly. We collaborated with the fence pad supplier to ensure our system was designed properly to accept and support their heavy load. We had to integrate extra reinforcement into our barrier and revised shop drawings and production followed suit. 

The barrier was supplied in a timely fashion and installed in just under two weeks. According to our colleagues at HRT JV, the METRORail and University teams are both happy with the new barrier and received only positive feedback on the sleek look of our Tuf-Barrier (Reflective) solution over the standard precast alternatives.

Maybe we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.

Project at a glance:

Name: Houston Rapid Transit - University of Houston Sound Barrier
Location: Houston, TX
Owner: Harris County Metropolitan Transit Authority   
Engineer: (HRT JV) Parsons Transportation Group   
Contractor: (HRT JV) Kiewit Texas Construction L.P.  
Product: Tuf-Barrier
Application: Light Rail Reflective Sound Barrier
Dimensions: Height 8', length 461'  
Installation tIme: Two weeks

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