Two 38-tonne gantries spanning the width of the M6 were installed in under 10 hours as part of Highways England’s upgrade of the motorway

The M6 was closed between junctions 14 (Stafford north) and 15 (Stoke-on-Trent) to enable the huge structures to be installed. The gantries had been built offsite and were transported to the M6 site on trailers, with an abnormal load escort, from the north-east.

Signs and signals will be fitted to the gantries which will set variable speed limits to help traffic flow more smoothly, close lanes when necessary and provide travel information for drivers.

A 17-mile stretch of the M6 is being upgraded into a smart motorway between junctions 13 and 15. The superspan gantries are the largest structures that have to be installed as part of the scheme.

Minimal disruption for motorists

Highways England smart motorway project sponsor, Peter Smith, said: “This is the first time we have attempted to install two superspan gantries in one night on this scheme and it was quite a challenge to get them both put in place and the M6 open by 8am.

“Thanks to careful planning and the efforts of the team on the night, everything went smoothly and we were able to get the motorway open shortly after 6am to minimise disruption for motorists.

“We appreciate that our work to upgrade this stretch of the M6 can cause some disruption and we are always grateful for people’s patience while we carry out such major works which will ultimately mean better and more reliable journeys for road users.”

While the motorway was shut for the installations a series of other works were also carried out to reduce the need for further closures. These included installing signage, technology ducting and cables, drainage, clearing vegetation and undertaking further surveys.

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