Wednesday, August 10, 2016

News: Work continues on Smart Motorway

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Further "superspan" gantries crossing the M1 will be installed overnight this month as part of a major smart motorway project to tackle congestion and improve journey times through Rotherham.

Highways England has been working on the £106m scheme on a ten mile stretch of the M1 between junctions 32 (south of Sheffield and Rotherham) and 35a (north of Sheffield and Rotherham). A 20 mile stretch of the M1 between junction 28 (South Normanton) and 31 (Aston) is also benefiting from a "smart motorway" project costing £205m where four lane running began in April.

The projects include converting the hard shoulder to an extra traffic lane in both directions and variable mandatory speed limits and they deliver benefits at a significantly lower cost than conventional motorway widening, and with less impact on the environment during construction.

Costain, contractors for Highways England will be installing the gantries overnight, between 9pm and 6am, starting on Monday August 15.

The first two gantries will be installed overnight on Monday August 15 and on Tuesday August 16 between junction 33 (Catcliffe) and junction 34 (Meadowhall).

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To carry out the work lanes two and three on the northbound carriageway and all three lanes on the southbound carriageway will be closed, with traffic travelling on the hard shoulder. Traffic will be temporarily stopped while the lift is undertaken.

A further six gantries between junctions 32 and 33 will be installed over four nights starting on Monday August 22. The southbound carriageway will be fully closed along with lanes two and three on the northbound carriageway.

Arun Sahni project manager at Highways England, said: "The erection of a "superspan" is a big job that calls for overnight closures, 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.

"While we have the closures in place for the six nights we will also be carrying out other works in the area which included resurfacing of the entry slip road at junction 33."

Work on the 32 - 35 stretch is scheduled to complete "by the end of March 2017."

Environmental assessments carried out on the managed motorway schemes through the Sheffield city region showed there was likely to be an adverse impact on local air quality if the motorway continued to operate at the national speed limit (70mph).

A proposed maximum mandatory 60mph speed limit was discounted by the Government and the latest option could see 60mph speed limits at weekday peak times between junctions 28 and 35a - between 07:00-09:00 in the morning and 15:00-18:00 in the evening.

The Transport Committee of MPs recently warned that the Government should not proceed with "all lane running" schemes while major safety concerns exist.

Highways England website

Images: Morgan Sindall


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