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The Specialist Structures Group of White Young Green (WYG) 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 commented, “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, ergonomics, transportation, installation and maintenance, 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. WYG Specialist Structures, who specialise in the design of composite structures, are responsible for the engineering and analysis of the FRP structure.
“This has been 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,” WYG’s Project Manager for the FRP Gantry project, Dr Mark Leaity added. “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. We hope that this project will come to fruition and it should lead to other significant applications of FRP Composites in the construction industry, such as major bridges and complete building structures.”
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