Gabions from Maccaferri Ltd, specialists in retaining structures, soil reinforcement and erosion protection, have been specified for one of the toll plazas on Eire’s first tolled motorway. Used to construct a free-standing natural stone wall, the gabions effectively screen essential operations buildings from the main public areas and toll booths.

Running from Dublin airport to Dundalk, the new M1 is the first in a series of seven new motorways planned to improve road transport links throughout Southern Ireland. Nearing completion, the 75 kilometre-long stretch of road is being constructed in three sections by SIAC/O’Rourke JV. The first 25 kilometre section including the toll plaza has already opened, with the remaining sections scheduled to open this summer.

Located at Balgeen, on the Drogheda bypass, the toll plaza is in an environmentally sensitive area featuring a significant number of prehistoric stone monuments. To ensure the finished structure blended into the natural landscape, aesthetic appeal was a key element in the specification of building materials.

Natural stone offered the best alternative for screening walls and architects Atkins specified gabion baskets containing locally quarried limestone as this method of construction provided an appropriate design aesthetic. Free standing, the finished wall is almost 500 metres in length, ranging in height from two to ten metres with a width of one metre.

The UK arm of the Maccaferri Industrial Group, headquartered in Italy, Maccaferri Ltd specialises in gabions, geotextiles, geogrids and geomats. In addition to a full range of products for retaining structures, soil reinforcement and erosion protection, the company offers an in-house construct, design and consultancy service.