The shortlisted proposals, which were submitted as part of an initial feasibility study, offer a wide range of ideas to reduce noise while offsetting production and installation costs by generating electricity.
The successful suppliers now have until the end of May to prepare submissions for approval to a team of Highways Agency structural engineers, who will select the best designs to be worked up as prototypes.
Highways Agency, working in partnership with the M40 Chiltern Environmental Group, (M40 CEG) Wycombe District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council, is supporting product developments that can be installed at sites on the M40 and potentially other parts of England’s strategic road network in future.
Mike Wilson, Chief Highway Engineer at the Highways Agency said:
We’re really excited about this process; there is a real opportunity here to do something differently and better. We have noise barriers on our network and solar powered signs but to combine the two would be a first in England.
Our Transport Related Engineering Advice and Research framework suppliers have used their in-house resources to run the competition and engage with their supply chain, seeking out innovative companies in order to identify the best solutions for renewable energy noise barriers.
Our objective is to develop cost effective noise barriers to improve community quality of life through reduced road traffic noise. We also want to develop designs that achieve this through low carbon energy production.
Cllr Jean Teesdale, Cabinet Member for Environment at Wycombe District Council said:
Having encouraged M40CEG from the outset and worked with them for many years, we’re delighted that we’re now working directly in partnership with the Highways Agency.
We’ve reached a really important milestone on this project which means we’re now moving into the technical detail. Not only is this a first for the UK, it’s a first in terms of how a local community and a local authority are working collaboratively with Highways Agency experts to identify a solution to a local problem and to be directly involved working together at a detailed technical level in evaluating the proposals which have come in. It’s a great example of joined up working.
The initial barrier proposals were evaluated by the partnership, who shortlisted the six solutions announced today.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
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