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Composite motorway gantries

News International-French

18 Aug 2011

(Published on December 2005 – JEC Magazine #21)


The Specialist Structures Group of White Young Green has been working for the last 2 years with Atkins and the UK Highways Agency to develop FRP composite structures for motorway sign and signal gantries.The composite gantries have been developed as an alternative to conventional steel or concrete structures, providing significant benefits in ease of transportation, durability and through-life costing.



With spans of up to 50m using a one-piece all-FRP beam, this project will certainly be breaking new ground within the construction industry. Steve Sexton, Atkins’ project manager, comments that “the use of FRP has enabled an aesthetic low-maintenance lightweight gantry design to be developed.


The design is significantly lighter than an equivalent steel or concrete gantry and provides advantages in the design, transportation and installation, which coupled with the vastly superior durability and whole-life cost benefits, makes the use of FRP a viable option.


The whole of the primary load-bearing structure of the main beam is to be produced in FRP. This is a very challenging project, not just because of the technical issues to be addressed, but to achieve the tight budgets necessary to compete with conventional materials. The potentially large number of gantries to be built has enabled lower cost, automated manufacturing processes, such as Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM), to be selected for certain components and resin infusion to be used for others to achieve very high-quality laminates.”