The word quiet is not normally associated with Chicago, but a precast concrete sound wall provides a temporary escape for Walsh Park visitors. The sound wall will not only buffer traffic noise on Ashland Avenue, it serves as a unique backdrop for musical performances in the park’s new event plaza.
Installing the wall marked the last construction step for phase I of the Bloomingdale Trail, or 606. The project includes a 2.7-mile-long park and trail system that runs through the Northwest side of Chicago on the unused Bloomingdale Railroad. Wieser Concrete Products produced the 160-foot-long by 25-foot-tall sound wall in one month for the trail to be opened for a scheduled dedication ceremony.
Mark Wieser, executive vice president and project coordinator, said self-consolidating concrete was used to pour the product due to crowding caused by reinforcement and the thin sections segmenting planters. It provided a uniform and smooth finish for a final appearance, he said. The product required a 28-day, 5,000-psi concrete strength, yet the final product was between 7,000 and 8,000 psi.
He said representatives from the company were on site to assist with installation. The sound wall was erected in two weeks under tight job site conditions and with limited material storage. Coordinated deliveries had to be made daily with the contractor, so the product transported the previous day could be installed to make room for additional deliveries.
“This project was unique because it was a very high-profile project and had to be constructed in such a tight timeframe,” he said. “Precast concrete is the best material for the project since it’s a durable product that can handle the weather it will be exposed to due to being manufactured in factory conditions. It is also a ‘livable’ wall which will beautify the community and aid the environment.”