Maccaferri gabions have helped in the construction of the UK motorway network’s first car-share lane. Built for the Highways Agency by Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering, it is located at the M606 / M62 junction near Bradford, West Yorkshire.
The car share lane is designed to speed traffic flow through this busy junction, which links the southbound M606 near Bradford to the eastbound M62 towards Leeds, encouraging people to share their journeys. It is open to cars and taxis with two or more occupants as well as busses and coaches.
The car-share lane project was funded by the Northern Way economic development partnership, which is supporting improvements to the transport infrastructure to assist economic growth across the north of England.
The Maccaferri gabions have been used to create an approximately 450m, combined length of road-side retaining wall next to the east bound M62 on-slip at Junction 26, Chain Bar Junction. The existing grassed slopes were cut back to create space for the car-share lane and the slope was reinforced using over 600 stone-filled gabion baskets.
Commenting on the choice of Maccaferri gabions for the project, Ian Scott, of consulting engineers Faber Maunsell, who designed the scheme, said: “Gabions are proven technology and they gave us an economical and speedy solution. Aesthetic and environmental issues were also important and the locally sourced Yorkstone used to fill the gabions blended really well with the surrounding landscape.
“Space is at a premium here and the gabion wall allowed us to fit in the overall lane width requirements without resorting to additional land-take.”
MACCAFERRI GABIONS – LARGE, FLEXIBLE BUILDING BLOCKS
Maccaferri gabions are rectangular box units, typically 2m x 1m x 1m long, fabricated from a double twist mesh of soft annealed, heavily galvanised wire. When filled with stone they become large, flexible building blocks from which a broad range of structures can be built.
The main advantages of gabions are their strength and flexibility. Their wire construction can tolerate differential settlement without fracture. Hydrostatic pressure does not build up behind the units because of their permeable nature. This ability to combine drainage and retention functions makes them ideal structures for slope stabilisation.
Work began on the car-share lane in October 2007 and the project was declared open on the 20th March 2008 by transport secretary Ruth Kelly.