Italy’s A14 Motorway runs for almost 750 km from Bologna in the north, to the town of Taranto in the south. Better known as the Autostrada Adriatica, the highway hugs Italy’s Adriatic coast for most of its length.
To enhance the quality of life for residents who live near the A14, the Italian highways’ agency (Autostrade per l’Italia) decided to install new sound barriers along parts of the highway. The Agency got in touch with local fabricator CIR Ambiente, who proposed panels made from ArcelorMittal’s Indaten® weathering steel based on a suggestion from ArcelorMittal Distribution Solutions (AMDS) Italy.
“Autostrade per l’Italia wanted the barriers to be as sustainable as possible,” notes Fabio Fabbri, CEO of CIR Ambiente. “That’s one of the main reasons why we suggested Indaten® for this project.” Like almost all steel products, Indaten® can be completely recycled at the end of its life. The natural brown colour of the steel also blends with the surrounding landscape to minimise the visual impact of the highway and sound barriers.
Like the fine wines grown along this part of Italy’s coast, Indaten® matures with age. When exposed to the natural environment, the magical steel develops a beautiful patina that serves as protective armour and, over time, creates the steel’s trademark natural purplish-brown colouring. The rough finish of the steel also provides excellent acoustic performance.
As the highway is less than two kilometres from the sea in many places, a study was commissioned from the University of Ferrara to determine whether the marine climate would adversely affect the Indaten®. The study found that the environment would have little effect on the barriers as long as they were designed to avoid water retention and kept clear of vegetation and de-icing salts. The researchers expect the thickness of the Indaten® coating will be reduced by just 0.5 mm after 20 years and by 0.6 mm after 30 years.
In addition to its environmental and visual performance, Indaten® offers significant economic advantages compared to other materials. The steel does not need to be galvanised or painted, reducing the cost of installation. It weathers naturally, so there is very little need for ongoing maintenance after installation. In fact, the Indaten® finish can last, without maintenance, for up to 80 years.
Along the A14, Indaten® has been used to create solid sound barriers and the supports of glass barriers. Over 3,000 tonnes of Indaten® were used in the project.
“As well as carrying out the commercial negotiations, AMDS Italy also undertook the initial processing (such as the slitting of the coils),” notes Alessandro Vorano, Account Manager for AMDS Italy. “We delivered the strips on time and according to the specifications of the Italian highways’ agency.”
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