The smart motorway scheme, between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62, will see latest technology being used to monitor traffic levels and keep vehicles moving by using variable speed limits.
The first of eight so-called superspan gantries, crossing whole sections of the M60 and M62 Manchester smart motorway project are to be installed. These overhead gantries will be installed over a six-week period, with the first being erected across the M62 between junction 19 at Heywood and junction 20 at Oldham.
Carrying variable speed limit signs and traffic messages, these are big beasts, coming in at 59 meters wide and 78 tonnes in weight. To install them a 500 tonne crane is needed as well as full overnight motorway closures.
Highways England project manager Stephen Hill said, “These new gantries are quite a bit lighter than the old gantries we removed earlier in the project. But they are still very large structures and are actually arriving on site in two parts. A 150 tonne mobile crane will then be used to join the two sections together before the larger crane lifts the whole structure in place across the motorway.
"We’re advising people to allow extra time for their journeys if they’re planning to travel when the closures are taking place, although we’ve deliberately timed the lifting work to be carried out when traffic levels are at their lowest," he said.
The smart motorway scheme, between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62, will see the latest technology being used to monitor traffic levels and keep vehicles moving by using variable speed limits. The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane to increase capacity between junctions 18 and 20 on the M62.
The smart motorway scheme is expected to be completed in autumn 2017 and will include around 200 new electronic message signs on overhead gantries. These will warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures and any incidents ahead.