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Gabions are star products in an environment oriented project in Gjirokastra

Gabions are star products in an environment oriented project in Gjirokastra

Flood Protection and Erosion Bank control on Drinos river.

Last three years Albania had serious problems during heavy rainfalls causing flooding and in all cases the consequences were catastrophic. An intervention inside the river bed was urgently needed in order to control the flood from the origin and put the water flow under control in some important waterways of the country.

First phase of this kind of intervention is proceeding in the south of Albania, regarding the Drinos River (in the area of Gjirokastra) and the Shushica River (in the area of Vranisht). Gabion was choosen as the “star” product of the project, due to its flexibility, natural drainage capacity (enabled by the stone filling) and high structural resistance building groynes inside the river bed. Groynes means a structure which protrudes into the river bed, with the effect of moving the flow away from the side of the river on which the groynes are built.

Gabion structures are suitable for every kind of groyne. They can be subjected to strain due to movement, even so without losing their effectiveness, and they can conform to all variations in river bed levels. They become an integral part of the river bank and of the river bed on which the gabions are built. In cases of a well built combinations of gabion defences and groynes, the structures are destined to disappear under the deposition of silt which will become further stabilized by plant colonization.

A bank stabilization was realized through the construction of a retaining structure that has affected the natural filtration between the watercourse and the bank and also has guaranteed the required consolidation. Furthermore, the presence of subgrades and banks, that are normally saturated or which have unpredictable erosion phenomena, made the application of flexible structures a necessity. They are able to withstand differential settlement without losing their structural integrity. Furthermore, the road along the river was closed due to erosion phenomena, therefore a gravity gabion wall was installed along the road ensuring its  stability.

This huge work came into existence thanks to excellent collaboration between Maccaferri Balkans and the engineers of Insfraconsult LTD, the project designer company, and the contractors of the project, Hastoci ltd, JV Eral & Asfalt ltd, JV Flonja & Kupa ltd and 2T ltd.

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