BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 16:24 GMT
Motorway sculpture will 'wake up drivers'
Sky Vault
The winning design was chosen from 200 entrants
Two motoring groups have said a giant cable structure which will span a road in the East Midlands could stop drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

The AA and the RAC have come out in favour of the stainless steel sculpture which will form a net-like tunnel.

But the Highways Agency has warned that the 50-metre high Sky Vault could distract drivers.

The sculpture was chosen following a competition to create a landmark to raise the profile of the East Midlands.

It would be an amazing thing to have and there is a great deal of support for it

Alina Hughes, designer
If plans are approved, the 50-metre-high Sky Vault will straddle either the M1 or A1 in the East Midlands, creating a 70-metre-long latticed tunnel for motorists to pass through.

It was the brainchild of three architects, Alina Hughes, Tom Hughes and Thibaut Devulder, from Nottingham-based 2hD.

The lobster pot-like structure's 18 -millimetre-thick cables would be lit up at night to create a constellation effect.

Safety worries

Mrs Hughes said: "We are very enthusiastic about it.

"It would be an amazing thing to have and there is a great deal of support for it."

Three sites have been identified: along the M1 at Kegworth, Leicestershire, or at Crick in Northamptonshire, or the A1 at Newark in Nottinghamshire.

M1
The sculpture could be built over the M1
Funding for the sculpture, which is expected to cost around 3m, would be provided by 700 businesses in the region, under the Great East Midlands Campaign umbrella.

It is hoped the sculpture could be completed by 2006 if planning approval is granted.

But the Highways Agency expressed concern about the idea.

A spokesman told the Sunday Times: "One of the things we would have to consider is driver distraction as well as disruption to the roads while it's being built."

New scenery

But both the RAC and the AA have welcomed the plans.

Simon Woodings, of the AA said: "There is nothing to suggest that these landmark structures cause accidents.

"You are more likely to be distracted by signs and pedestrians when you're driving around city centres."

An RAC spokesman said: "It's easy to lose concentration when you're driving on the motorway.

"Anything which makes you look and gives you a bit of a mental jolt isn't a bad idea."

The organisers hope the winning structure will come to symbolise the east Midlands region and become part of the scenery like the Angel of the North has in Gateshead.

See also:

12 Nov 01 | England
12 Oct 01 | England
30 Jul 99 | UK
16 Feb 98 | UK
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes