Joseph B. Fay also saved on labor during the installation process. "Precast would have taken a four-man crew three to four weeks to install," Klimas says. "The same crew completed the Eco Sound Barrier installation in only five days."
The four-man crew plus one crane operator would have cost an estimated $45,000 for four weeks of work, but because the project was completed in only five days, Joseph B. Fay was able to save more than $33,000 in labor. And, although they used the same size cranes and equipment they would have used with precast panels on this project, Klimas says they could have easily used much smaller machines. They just decided to use what they already had on hand.
"Reducing labor costs and risk is one the biggest factors to staying under budget in any construction job," Klimas says. "In that regard, using Eco Sound Barrier presents some major advantages."
Klimas also believes Eco Sound Barrier could give Joseph B. Fay a competitive advantage when bidding future highway projects. He says that, typically, precast sound barriers cost anywhere from $25 to $45 per square foot. Eco Sound Barrier material costs are only about a third of that, at $10 to $15 per square foot.
"The construction industry really feels the stress of a down economy like ours," Klimas says. "So, we always pay attention to products such as Eco Sound Barrier that could give us the inside edge to securing more work in the future. Reducing our costs so drastically is a major part of that."
Scheurich of the PA Turnpike agrees the cost savings are impressive and that now it is just a matter of seeing if the barrier can withstand the test of time.
"We are looking at it from a lifecycle perspective right now," Scheurich says. "The initial savings are great, but if we have to replace it too soon, it might not be cost effective over the life of the barrier. Winters in Pennsylvania can be very harsh, and we would like to see how the panels hold up against freezing temperatures and road salt. We really have to weigh the risk against the reward at this point."
CENTRIA offers a 20-year finish warranty on Eco Sound Barrier panels. Although the PA Turnpike project was the first time the technology was applied to a transportation project, CENTRIA has been using the same composite materials in structural building applications for more than 40 years. Rick Mowrey, director of marketing and business development for CENTRIA, says that these composite walls have been standing for 40 straight years or more in architectural applications without requiring any maintenance.
Overall, both the PA Turnpike Commission and Joseph B. Fay feel the project was a complete success. And the residents of Enon Valley seem to be satisfied as well.
"Typically, if the people are happy, we don't hear from them," Scheurich says. "They only speak up if they're disappointed, and we haven't heard anything yet. So, I'm taking that as a good sign."