Solar-powered barrier system trialled at work site on UK’s M23 motorway


The UK’s first mobile solar powered barrier system for work sites has made its debut on the country’s motorway network, protecting roadworkers carrying out essential repairs on the M23, while only allowing access to construction traffic.

The M23 pilot marks the first highways trial for the SOSEC (SOlar-powered SECurity) product, which launched in October 2016 with an initial focus on the construction industry.

Due to a partnership between Green Gate Access Systems and Highway Care, two companies located in Maidstone in Kent, the potential for SOSEC in other markets is now being realized. On the M23, the SOSEC gate has provided contractors with a power-free method to slow and control access to the work zone, track who is on-site, and prevent accidental entry from the public. A wireless cellular 4G intercom system allows visiting contractors or emergency services to contact the central control office, with known contractors using managed swipe cards or codes to enter the site, with the standalone system entirely powered by sunlight.

Highways Care were responsible for installing the full overnight installation of 4,920ft (1,500m) of temporary crash barrier on the live lane and, using the SOSEC system, securing a mile long (1.5km) section of roadwork along this busy route. Green Gate Access Systems developed its SOSEC range of products to answer a growing need to provide public safety and work site security, where power provision is not practical, but security and safety demands are high.

Its mobility, durability and flexibility in a single easy-to-deliver platform resulted in a great deal of interest at Traffex 2017, the UK’s leading highways industry event that was held earlier this month in Birmingham. The SOSEC range of products has seen Green Gate Access Systems being named as a finalist in several awards, including the Commercial Innovation of the Year at the Construction News Awards taking place in London in July.

“We’ve been delighted with the buzz around SOSEC since our launch in October, with the M23 trial proving a perfect illustration of its potential for use in a wide range of sectors, including highways safety,” noted Neil Sampson, managing director of Green Gate Access Systems.

“The positive feedback at Traffex confirms our view the future is looking bright for this innovative range of products, that meets the challenges of combining security with mobility, and is being viewed as a game changer, particularly for the temporary highways works market.”

Ben Duncker, corporate sales director at Highway Care, commented, “It was a pleasure to exhibit with SOSEC at Traffex, as we have some very exciting UK highways infrastructure projects on the horizon. Currently the SOSEC gate is on trial on the M23 and getting very good reviews from the contractors there. Its purpose is simply to prevent the public accidentally entering a work area on a live motorway, and it has performed that role perfectly. With another trial lined up for the A14 bypass project, we are extremely confident that sales of the SOSEC mobile solar barriers will feature heavily in the coming year.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).