The Department for Transport announced in February 2020 that a new Moveable Barrier System would be installed on the M20, J8-9, between Hollingbourne at J8 and Ashford. It can be operated when required as part of a contraflow to permit the motorway and junctions to remain open during Channel ports disruption and saving £millions of possible losses to the Kent economy during such closures.
The project’s objective was to allow port-bound lorries to be held on the motorway while all other traffic continues to have access to the motorway in both directions. Unlike the previous solution implemented in 2019, the new Moveable Barrier System will allow the M20 to operate in its full capacity 99.9% of the time and only when required a contraflow could be deployed overnight.
The 12-month project involves heavy works on the central reservation along a 13 mile stretch of the busy motorway. With over 20 overhead cables and structures in the works area, Balfour Beatty have adopted use of the GS6 INSTABOOM, solar barriers, to protect each hazard from accidental strikes. The solar barriers installed in front of each of the 20 hazard locations involve an over-height detection laser, 50m before the hazard, that triggers the solar powered INSTABOOM barrier to close 15m in front of the hazard if an over height vehicle is detected. The closing INSTABOOM ensures that any over height vehicles are contained before they reach the hazard, eliminating a potential deadly strike.
Mike Omond, Strategic Specialist Plant Manager, Balfour Beatty, commented "Installation of the over height detecting GS6 INSTABOOM barriers on this project is a key part of the many safety measures we mandate during such works. While speed of project delivery is always key, safety comes first. The GS6 INSTABOOM barriers allow us to eliminate overhead strikes in the 20 hazard locations in the works area. The solar powered nature of the INSTBAOOM range is absolutely in line with our Zero Carbon : Zero Harm policy"