WAYS TO STABILISE RIVERS
Gabions, in their many forms, such as baskets and mattresses, and their sausage and allied configurations, have been with us for a long time, and for good reason. They remain one of the most successful intervention and prevention measures to counter factors like soil 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.
In addition to being a manufacturer of gabion products and solutions, Gabion Baskets provides design recommendations and on-site training for installation teams, many of whom are sourced from local communities and have limited initial skills. However, after they’ve completed the training and applied this in practice, Cheyne says that these community members are then well prepared to work on other short-term projects, which could potentially serve as a launching point for SMME subcontractor businesses.