Case Study: Cantilever Gate Solution for the City of Alton with Superior Fence

When the City of Alton needed a reliable solution to replace their non-functional gate system, they turned to Superior Fence & Ornamental Iron, Inc. The project, located at the Lucian A. Harris Public Works Facility, required a gate system free of any tracks on the driveway due to past damage caused by snow plows.

Superior Fence, a family-owned business since 1962, took on the challenge, leveraging DJA’s cantilever gate system to meet the city’s specific requirements.

Project Background

Superior Fence & Ornamental Iron, led by Greg Tennikait, has a long history of tackling various fencing projects, from small residential jobs to significant commercial installations. This project presented a unique challenge due to the city’s requirement to avoid any kind of track on the drive, which had been problematic in the past.

Problems with Traditional Track Systems

Traditional track systems for gates often present several issues, particularly in regions with heavy snowfall. Tracks embedded in driveways can become clogged with snow and ice, making the gates difficult or impossible to operate.

In Alton, the city faced repeated problems with snow plows destroying the tracks, leading to frequent repairs and ultimately rendering the gate system non-functional.

These issues highlighted the need for a trackless solution that could withstand harsh weather conditions and avoid interference with maintenance activities like snow removal.

Design and Fabrication Challenges

The City of Alton’s primary requirement was a gate system without tracks on the driveway. Greg Tennikait had previously seen DJA’s bottom cantilever rollers and tracks at trade shows and decided to explore this option for its clean look and functionality.

Our expert staff worked with Greg to select the appropriate rollers and tracks for the project.

The gates needed to be 23 feet wide and 6 feet high. To reduce weight, aluminum was chosen as the primary material. However, ensuring the gates were up to code for gate operators required covering them with aluminum expanded metal.

The design was challenging due to the limited overhang space, pushing the limits of roller spacing and overhang to ensure smooth operation.

Why Cantilever Gate Systems?

Cantilever gate systems offer several advantages over traditional track systems. They provide a cleaner look with minimal visible hardware and no need for an in-ground track, making them ideal for applications where aesthetics and functionality are crucial.

These systems are also more reliable in adverse weather conditions since they do not get obstructed by snow, ice, or debris. Additionally, cantilever gates can be automated, providing ease of use and enhanced security for various applications, including residential, commercial, and industrial settings.

Installation Process

  1. Preparation: The existing gate system was removed, and the site was prepared for the new installation.
  2. Fabrication: The aluminum gates were fabricated and covered with expanded metal, following the design specifications.
  3. Installation: DJA’s bottom cantilever rollers were installed and the gate was attached, ensuring a smooth operation without tracks on the driveway.
  4. Final Adjustments: The gates were adjusted for optimal functionality, allowing them to be opened and closed effortlessly.

Overcoming Challenges

Limited Overhang Space: The design pushed the limits of available space, but careful planning and precision in fabrication ensured the gates operated smoothly within the constraints.

Meeting Code Requirements: Covering the gates with aluminum expanded metal provided the necessary strength and compliance, overcoming the challenge of ensuring the gates met all code requirements for gate operators.

Large Opening: This gate needed to cover a large opening. While DJA carries solutions for long and heavy gates to cover wide openings, the implementation in this case utilized two gates. A two gate solution helps reduce opening and closing times and offers the flexibility of automating each gate independently if desired.

To cover this opening, each gate was designed to cover a 16-foot opening. These gates used two of DJA’s Small Plus Cantilever Gate Kits (one per gate), along with 48 feet of small cantilever track (24′ per gate).

Automation Challenges: Vehicles needed to be able to exit the lot freely, and the gates needed to be left open during business hours with an option to open after-hours. To accomplish this, two LiftMaster CSL24UL operators were used. These were integrated with an Optex Vehicle Presence Sensor for a free exit, a timer to hold the gates open during business hours, and a proximity censer for after-hours entry.


The final design allowed the gates to be opened and closed with one finger, demonstrating the effectiveness of DJA’s cantilever gate system. The City of Alton was satisfied with the new gate, which met their requirement for a trackless driveway solution and provided a clean, functional look.

For more information on Superior Fence & Ornamental Iron, potential clients can visit Superior Fence Online or call 618-259-4184.

DJA provides inspiration for your designs and supplies top quality components. We can recommend highly skilled fabricators who use our components. Customers can also specify DJA specific components or designs to their fabricator or contractor.

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