The first of eight ‘superspan’ gantries crossing whole sections of the M60 and M62 Manchester smart motorway project will be installed later this week.
The overhead gantries, which will carry message and variable speed limit signs, are being installed over the next six weeks with the first being erected across the M62, between junction 19 at Heywood and junction 20 at Oldham, on Thursday night (5 May).
The gantries – which will span both the eastbound and westbound carriageways of the motorway – are up to 59 metres wide, weigh up to 78 tonnes and will require a special 500 tonne crane to help install them 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.”
Similar gantries will also be installed along the M60 around Eccles, Sale and Barton over the next few weeks.
When the smart motorway scheme is completed in autumn 2017, around 200 new electronic message signs on overhead gantries will warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures and incidents ahead.