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Milan sows sustainable safety

The approved wood and steel barriers of Vita International chosen by the ambrosian municipality to protect users of an agricultural and naturalistic itinerary of 10 km around the ancient abbey of Chiaravalle

Vita International barriers

  Per la versione in Italiano:

Treviade is the ancient name of Travagliato, on the outskirts of Brescia, where VITA International has its headquarters, a company that deals with the development, design and production of guardrails in wood and steel with double useful life and double, indeed multiple sustainability.

The first aspect is explained by the fact that the barriers are certified both in the Cor-Ten steel version and in the one with wood cladding (laminated or solid). The second – or sustainability – lies in the full traceability and recyclability of materials, as well as in their function of environmental and landscape protection.

Beyond the “classic” contexts of hilly or mountain roads or other areas of naturalistic value, the VITA International barriers used in agricultural contexts are becoming increasingly popular, and are being continuously enhanced also due to the increases in cycle lane mobility.

Barriers in the milanese countryside
1. Guardrails in wood and steel along the itineraries of the Milanese countryside

Two models used in these particular habitat are those of the Treviade family, accompanied in the school-case of Chiaravalle, Milan, which we will shortly illustrate by the version called Garda.

Treviade, class N2 lateral side, has vertical posts in Cor-Ten steel S355J0WP or galvanized steel S355JR, “C” section with dimensions 120x80x25 mm, thickness 4 mm and length 1.450 mm; driven into the ground to a depth of 775 mm and placed at post distance of 2.000-4.000-6.000 mm.

A double wave horizontal beam in Cor-Ten steel S355J0WP or galvanized steel S355JR, with dimensions 4318×310 mm, thickness 2.5 mm, is fixed to the posts. The horizontal beam is completed with the solid wood cladding of the beam, made up of half-poles Ø 160 mm and length 1.990 mm, suitably shaped and treated in an autoclave.

Garda, class H2 lateral side, has vertical posts in Cor-Ten steel S355J0WP or galvanized steel S355JR, “C” section with dimensions 120x60x25 mm, thickness 5 mm and length 1.580 mm; driven into the ground to a depth of 791 mm and placed at centers of 1.330-2.660 mm.

The spacers are fixed to the posts and further horizontal triple wave beams in Cor-Ten steel S355J0WP or galvanized steel S355JR with dimensions 4.318×502 mm, thickness 2.5 mm are fixed. The horizontal beam is completed with the solid wood cladding made of half-poles Ø 160 mm and length 1.990 mm suitably shaped and treated in an autoclave.

Chiaravalle abbey
2. The Abbey of Chiaravalle

Chiaravalle best practice

We are located in the southern outskirts of Milan, a metropolis in constant evolution, a distinctive feature that not only concerns the new architecture of the center, but also, precisely, the peripheral areas.

To the south, for example, crossed Via Ripamonti, there is the area dominated by the Cistercian abbey of Chiaravalle, founded by Bernardo in 1135 (the transalpine saint who introduced irrigation canals in Lombardy), today an agricultural and protected context, to be exact, by the South Park of Milan.

Speaking of protection, the Municipality of Milan in this area has concluded a safety intervention on two important roads leading to the abbey, Via Sant’Arialdo and Via Vaiano Valle, by installing two types of peculiar barriers, double and triple wave, made of Cor-Ten steel with solid wood cladding or, respectively, “our” Treviade and Garda.

  • Garda model
    3A Garda model
    3A. Garda triple wave model
  • The rear of the Garda guardrail
    3B The rear of the Garda guardrail
    3B. A detail of the rear of the guardrail for Garda barrier

Solutions that guarantee high safety standards for users in transit and, at the same time, an ideal environmental integration. But how did this choice come about and what are the advantages?

The Engineer Marco Sala, Designer and Technical Manager of the intervention, under the Infrastructures for Mobility Technical Area of the Municipality of Milan, helps us to answer as head of the Bridges Unit, more specifically of the elevated works, including the related protections.

Before getting to the heart of the issues, we remind you that the municipal Administration of the lombard capital is investing huge resources in the modernization of the protection systems, not only on the road side but also as regards the singular points such as the cusps, today “defended” by crash cushions.

The interventions also includes the replacement of outdated guardrails in the Chiaravalle area, carried out under framework agreements. In detail, in Via Vaiano Valle the execution was handled by the Patuzzo Barriere Stradali Company, while in Via Sant’Arialdo by the ATI Sangalli-Bergamelli Impresa-SIAS.

In all the interventions in the area, about 10 km in total, the wood and steel barriers were provided by VITA International with the collaboration and assistance of Nuove Iniziative Srl. 

  • Via Sant’Arialdo without protections
    4A Via Sant’Arialdo without protections
    4A. Via Sant’Arialdo as it was, without protections
  • Via Sant'Arialdo with VITA International barriers
    4B Via Sant'Arialdo with VITA International barriers
    4B. Via Sant’Arialdo as it is, with VITA International barriers

A peculiar intervention

We therefore enter into the heart of the intervention that we can divide into three distinct sections: the first runs, along Via Sant’Arialdo, from Via Ripamonti to the junction for Poasco, just before the landing in Chiaravalle, and extends for about 1.2 km (on both sides).

The second always resumes in Via Sant’Arialdo after the abbey and runs for another 1.2 km between the park and the railway line (park side only). The third, finally, winds along the entire Via Vaiano Valle, towards the north, for about 3 km (also here on both sides), forming with the first two a sort of inverted T, at the base of which there are the complex historical and the adjacent cemetery.

In the middle, a beautiful countryside, with banks and ditches, poppies and shrub species typical of flat Lombardy.

Solid wood and Cor-Ten steel
5. From the buliding site’s archive: solid wood and Cor-Ten steel

“The goal of the intervention – explains Engineer Sala – was to replace outdated devices with CE marked guardrails, certified in accordance with the european standard EN 1317, which also guarantee an ideal environmental integration, given the prestigious naturalistic context“.

After identifying the appropriate technical solution, the Municipality then consulted the Agricultural Park, whose landscape commission, following a specific process, granted the simplified landscape authorization which paved the way for its implementation. 

Added values

Parallel to the aesthetic-environmental green disc, the types of barriers were then chosen, determined by the characteristics of the contexts and the traffic levels of the arteries: in the first section of Sant’Arialdo and in Via Vaiano Valle, the barrier model which was installed is Treviade of N2 class with double wave, while in the section adjacent to the railway of Via Sant’Arialdo the Garda model of class H2, with triple wave.

  • Treviade model
    6A Treviade model
    6A. Treviade model
  • Garda model
    6B Garda model
    6B. Garda model

“Among the added value factors of these devices – Sala continues – it should be emphasized that they are homologated both in the Cor-Ten steel structure alone and in the combined steel-wood structure, which is a benefit both for safety and for environmental protection, given that Cor-Ten is a solution of naturalistic value. In the current configuration, then, the wooden cladding also represents an extra protection for cycling users, as well as for vehicles”.

Speaking of cyclists, the modernized Via Vaiano Valle, open to vehicles from Monday to Friday, is banned from vehicles on weekends to become only a cycle/pedestrian lane: a “hybrid” solution that goes in the direction of further, increased sustainability.

From a technical point of view, it still remains to be said that in some places the barriers were installed on the so-called embankments, or in sites where it was not possible to find “that infinite terrain behind the barrier typical of test fields, a context – notes Sala – which led us to envisage consolidation of the rear embankment, also considering the unevenness of the embankments”. 

  • Treviade double wave guardrail
    7A Treviade double wave guardrail
    7A. A detail of the Treviade double wave guardrail
  • Treviade double wave guardrail
    7B Treviade double wave guardrail
    7B. A detail of the Treviade double wave guardrail

Technical data

  • Contracting Authority: Municipality of Milan
  • Designer: Eng. Marco Sala, Infrastructure for Mobility Technical Area – Mobility and Transport Department – Bridges and Road Concessions Unit of the Municipality of Milan
  • Project: Installation of guardrails in wood and steel under separate road maintenance framework agreements
  • Characteristic notes: Simplified Landscape Authorization issued by the Landscape Commission of the South Milan Agricultural Park – Metropolitan City of Milan
  • Contractors: Patuzzo Road Barriers; ATI Sangalli-Bergamelli Impresa-SIAS
  • Technical assistance: Nuove Iniziative Srl
  • Guardrail supplier: VITA International
  • Year of installation: 2022
  • Models installed: Treviade and Garda

  Per la versione in Italiano: