29 June 2012
Final preparations are taking place to make way for the installation of the first superspan gantries on the M4/M5 managed motorway scheme at the beginning of July.
Earlier this month the existing gantries and infrastructure were successfully removed whilst the new steel gantries were being constructed, fitted-out and tested at a dedicated facility located near junction 17 of the M5, before being delivered to the works site.
A total of 33 new overhead gantries, some spanning 50 metres and weighing over 30 tonnes, will be installed along the new managed motorway section. A further seven existing gantries are being upgraded to take new signage. Information displayed on the gantries will advise drivers when the hard shoulder is open for use by traffic, display variable speed limits to manage traffic flow and reduce congestion, and also provide information on the road conditions.
To enable installation of the overhead gantries, there will be a series of week-night closures throughout July. The first set of closures will begin on Tuesday 3rd July through to Thursday 5 July on the M4 and M5 carriageways, from 10pm until 6am the following morning. Clearly signposted diversion routes will be in place throughout the works:
Tuesday 3 July: M4 Eastbound and Westbound through junction 20
Wednesday 4 July: M5 Northbound junction16 to 15 and M5 Southbound junction 14-16
Thursday 5 July: M5 Northbound junction 17-15 and M5 Southbound junction 15-16
There will also be further week-night link road closures from Monday 9 July to Thursday 12 July, from 9pm until 6am the following morning:
Monday 9 July: M5 South to M4 East link road and M5 South to M4 West link road
Tuesday 10 July - Thursday 12July: M5 South to M4 East and West link roads and M4 East to M5 North and South link roads
Paul Unwin, Highways Agency senior project manager, said: "The new gantries will hold the signs and signals that will convey vital road information to drivers. Their sheer size means that a full motorway closure is essential to give us access for delivery and installation. Closing the motorway also ensures the safety of the travelling public as road workers with large and heavy equipment complete the task of installing the gantries and associated technology. Although the closures will be in place when there is less traffic, we do advise road users to allow more time for their journeys and to follow the clearly signed diversion routes."
The work is part of delivering the managed motorway scheme which will introduce variable mandatory speed limits and allow the hard shoulder to be used as an extra traffic lane on the M4 between junctions 19 and 20, and the M5 between Junction 15 and Junction 17, during heavy traffic flow.
Mobilisation work for the M4/M5 managed motorway scheme started on 7 November 2011. Main construction work started in January 2012, with work due to be completed in spring 2014.
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