I was surprised on a recent trip to southwestern Ontario to notice some glass sound barriers along the freeway between St Catherines and NOTL.
The glass panels were mostly on the top of the sound barriers. They let light through, making the fence seem less high. I don’t know if this is for the benefit of residents or motorists.
In one or two locations, near overpasses, the glass panels extended much closer to the ground, but I wasn’t able to snap a photo while driving. The glass sections were on new sections of sound barrier, and not just for short sections either:
Throughout Germany and Austria I was struck by the extensive use of glass for all sorts of new uses, replacing wood, concrete, or steel. Glass freeway sound barriers were everywhere; here is a section in Austria, which permits motorists and uphill residents to see through the freeway barriers over the town to a gorgeous lake and mountain view:
I wonder if any of the new freeway sound barriers being installed along the Queensway this year and next will include glass sections. These would be useful for orienting people to the downtown and its skyline. Or is Ottawa just an MTO backwater? The yokels won’t know any better, stick up concrete.
Glass walls are useful in urban areas too.
Here is a glass barrier in a Salzburg underpass. Glass went from pillar to pillar, sidewalk to ceiling. The result was astounding. The sidewalk / bikepath was peaceful and calm. You could talk. There wasn’t the huge echoing roar of vehicles. And the sidewalk was clean, free of dust and soot from vehicles. Just marvellous:
They could also be used to replace those attractive green plywood boards the city installs each fall, and uninstalls each spring, on overpasses to prevent snow from falling on vehicles below.
Have readers seen any glass barriers in the Ottawa area?