A 2 mile stretch of the M62 will be closed overnight on Saturday 12 December while engineers remove a 40-metre-wide overhead gantry.
Contractors for Highways England need to close the motorway in both directions between junction 19 at Heywood and junction 20 at Oldham as part of the smart motorway upgrade to tackle congestion and improve journey times.
The overhead gantry – which spans both the eastbound and westbound carriageways of the motorway – weighs around 130 tonnes. Two similar gantries were removed last month but two overnight closures planned for last Saturday and a Saturday in November had to be postponed due to high winds.
Work to remove the final gantry will now take place on Saturday 12 December, with another overnight closure due to happen early in 2016 to remove the gantry’s supporting columns.
Specialist 500 tonne cranes will be used to remove the gantry during the closure between 9pm on Saturday night and 10am on Sunday morning as part of the £202 million smart motorway project.
The scheme between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 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 between junctions 18 and 20 on the M62.
Highways England project manager Paul Hampson said:
These are massive structures and we will need to close the M62 to remove them safely by lifting the beams onto the carriageway, where they’ll be broken up and transported away, and then by removing the gantry legs using a smaller crane.
The severe weather at the weekend and last month meant we had to cancel a couple of planned overnight closures, and these will now take place on Saturday 12 December and early in the new year.
We’re advising people to allow extra time for their journeys if they’re planning to travel when the closures are taking place, although we’ve deliberately timed the demolition work to be carried out when traffic levels are at their lowest.
The eastbound diversion route for the closures from junction 19 will operate north of the motorway – from junction 19 using the northbound A6046, eastbound A458 and southbound A627(M) down to junction 20.
The westbound diversion will run south of the motorway – with drivers sent onto the southbound A627(M) from junction 20, westbound A664 and northbound A6046 up to junction 19.
Work to demolish 16 overhead gantries began in April with the latest demolitions designed to complete the work. The closure could be postponed again if strong winds are forecast.
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.
To stay up to date with the latest developments, visit the scheme page.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.