Transparent noise barrier to be installed on Woodrow Wilson Bridge

A see-through highway noise barrier – one of the first in the United States – will be installed on the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge that will connect Maryland and Virginia.

The 17-foot-high sound barrier, formed by half-inch-thick panels, will be made of a transparent acrylic material called Paraglas. The transparent material is protected from ultra violet rays to prevent yellowing and is graffiti resistant.

The sound barrier will extend 1,550 feet on Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Local officials hope the new barrier will shield the nearby historic neighborhoods of Alexandria from the sounds of traffic on I-95/I-495. In the past, aesthetic and safety concerns prevented a traditional sound barrier from being built.

“The barrier is effective in shielding the neighborhood from highway noise,” said Ronaldo Nicholson, project manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation. “Its transparency overcomes the aesthetic, safety and other concerns that prevented a traditional noise wall from being built on the new bridge.”

The Federal Highway Administration on May 6 approved installation of the barrier. Coordination to select the most appropriate type and design of barrier involved VDOT, FHWA, the Maryland State Highway Administration, the City of Alexandria and several other groups.

For more information about the sound wall, click the link to the right.