The ‘superspan’ gantry crossing the M1 near Sheffield will be installed overnight as part of a major smart motorway project to tackle congestion and improve journey times.
Contractors for Highways England will be installing the overhead gantry, which will carry message and variable speed limit signs, on Monday night when traffic levels are at their lowest.
The gantry – which will span both the northbound and southbound carriageways of the motorway – is approximately 47 metres wide, weighs up to 30 tonnes and will require a special 200 tonne crane to help install it as well as an overnight closure of the northbound carriageway. One lane will remain open on the southbound carriageway.
The gantry will be erected between junction 35 at Rotherham and junction 36 at Barnsley overnight between 9pm and 6am. The closure could be postponed if strong winds are forecast.
The smart motorway scheme, between junction 32 of the M1 at Rotherham and junction 35a at Stocksbridge, 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.
Highways England project manager Arun Sahni said: “The erection of a ‘superspan’ is a big job that calls for a night closure on the northbound carriageway, but then they’re very big structures. You really get a sense of their size when they are on the ground waiting to go up.
“This gantry is also close to an overhead electric cable which is why we need to close the carriageway, so it’s important for people who use the motorway at night to plan their journeys.”
Cleary signed diversions will be place by exiting at junction 35 and turning left onto the A629 Cowley Lane. At the roundabout with the A6135, take the third exit on to Station Road and continue to the roundabout at the A61. Take the first exit towards Tankersley roundabout and take the third exit to rejoin the M1 northbound.