Ways to outflank rivers
Rivers follow their own course and will challenge any natural or man-made barrier. That’s a top-of-mind consideration for environmental engineers designing gabion structures and a key deliverable for the contractors that build these structures. By Alastair Currie
Gabions, in their many forms, such as baskets and mattresses, and their sausage and allied configurations, have been with us for centuries, and for good reason. They remain one of the most successful intervention and prevention measures to counter factors like erosion. They also perform exceptionally well as retaining systems in a variety of applications, from road embankments to marine coastal protection, rivers and weirs.
“A key benefit of gabion installations is the way they blend in with the environment, because an essential ingredient is their natural rock composition, which intentionally lends itself to some level of permeability, in conjunction with geotextiles that are there to counter soil retention loss,” explains Louis Cheyne, managing director of Gabion Baskets and a qualified construction materials specialist.
“The alternative is to go the mass concrete route for structures like weirs and irrigation channels. However, this will result in a much higher construction cost since specialist equipment and tradesmen will be required. Gabions, on the other hand, are perfect for labour-intensive applications under the guidance of an experienced consulting engineer and contractor.”