9 May 2022 | Gramm Barriers
More than 3,000m of Gramm Barrier Systems A5 rated POLYSoundBlok® noise barrier system has been installed alongside the East West Rail Phase 2 tracks, demonstrating East West Rail Alliance’s commitment to lineside residents.
East West Rail Alliance (EWRA) selected Gramm Barrier Systems, one of the UK’s designers, suppliers and installers of acoustic barriers and security fencing systems, early in the project design stage to assist with noise barrier specifications and delivery.
Gramm Barrier Systems adapted and improved EWRA’s sound barrier requirements to provide a whole-life cost saving of over £1m through the installation of the best for project POLYSoundBlok® noise dampening barrier system.
POLYSoundBlok® is 30% quicker to install than alternative solutions, highly durable and rot-proof, with a maintenance-free design and operational life of 40-plus years.
Panels are manufactured from PET – primarily recycled water bottles thereby helping to divert plastic from the oceans – and encased in upcycled plastic to produce a lightweight noise absorbing barrier. Available in a variety of standard heights, up to 10m, and lengths, up to 4.25m, panels come in a range of colours to blend in with the surrounding environment.
In total 3,020m of POLYSoundBlok® noise barrier is being installed at four locations where rail tracks run close to residential areas; Bletchley 2B 2C, Verney Junction, Winslow and Steeple Claydon.
Installation started in November 2021 and is scheduled for completion later this month (May).
Gramm Barrier Systems has realised significant cost efficiencies for EWRA through a number of solutions. For example, the original design included a bespoke foundation top detail that allowed the steel posts/concrete connection to be above ground to allow for easier inspection. Gramm Barrier Systems not only turned this concept into a reality, but created savings by streamlining the design.
In addition, the company significantly reduced the post foundation size while also increasing the post centres to 4.3m, a unique feature of the POLYSoundBlok® system. Using recycled materials and with rapid installation, the solution created environmental benefits, reducing the project’s carbon footprint through the use of less concrete and steel.
The Gramm Barrier Systems project team has faced several challenges including the requirement to install 2,000m of barrier within eight weeks to accommodate EWRA’s track laying schedule.
While at Winslow, heavy rain and the naturally saturated ground conditions caused foundations to collapse during excavation. Gramm Barrier Systems overcame the problem quickly by collaborating with valued partner, Van Elle, to supply and install a circular hollow section pile system.
Mark Whittle, Gramm Barrier Systems Project Director, said: “It is refreshing to work with a client that appreciates the value of investing in a high-quality product to provide exceptional noise reduction for lineside neighbours, a 40-year plus design life and creates environmental benefits.
“Our POLYSoundBlok® noise barrier system will provide whole-life cost efficiencies for EWRA and long-lasting performance for residents.”
Tom Bowles, Project Manager at EWRA, said: “Gramm Barrier Systems have demonstrated their highly effective turnkey approach with the delivery of their POLYSoundBlok® noise barrier system on the East West Rail Phase 2 project. Their proactive and adaptability has enabled works to be delivered on site to programme and to a high quality whilst navigating detailed design and operational challenges.
"The product that Gramm Barrier Systems have delivered will provide a key part of the operational railway whilst also ensuring that the impact to our closest lineside neighbours is minimised.”
Gramm Barrier Systems design, supply and install acoustic barriers and security fencing systems and is the only noise barrier specialist to have materials and works backed and insured by the Government.
As a company Gramm Barriers pride themselves on offering a full turnkey solution and are not just an installer. With over 25 years rail industry experience, Gramm Barriers are the longest running noise barrier specialist in the UK and offer early contractor involvement, design, manufacture, and specialist installation.
Gramm Barriers are also a primary sponsor for Network Rail Sentinel, directly employing and sponsoring their workforce.