Amey has added 15 new Mercedes-Benz Econics to its fleet, to support a Highways England maintenance and support contract in the North West.
All but one of the new vehicles are destined for operation on the £325-million contract, which covers routine maintenance, defect repairs, emergency incident responses and severe weather services, on 261 miles of motorway and 50 miles of major A roads in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire.
Dealer group Rygor Commercials has supplied the new trucks, which include two traffic management vehicles with sign boards and Scorpion crash cushions, and a pair of multi-purpose barrier rigs with Palfinger cranes and cone wells.
The traffic management vehicles were built in Calne, Wiltshire, by Acklea, while the barrier rigs are the work of Palfinger UK, which is part of the TH WHITE Group, of nearby Devizes. Both bodybuilders have long-standing associations with Amey.
Mercedes-Benz is one of two preferred truck suppliers to Amey. The operator also acquired a dozen new vehicles bearing three-pointed stars last year, and today the brand accounts for approximately three-quarters of its 500-strong truck fleet.
All of Amey’s Mercedes-Benz vehicles arrived via Rygor Commercials, on a contract hire agreement with Hitachi Capital.
Amey was an early adopter of the Mercedes-Benz Econic for operation in applications other than trade and domestic waste collections. The company commissioned a batch of 11 traffic management vehicles and barrier rigs in 2009.
“Our experience over more than a decade confirms that the Econic is simply the best vehicle for this job,” said Amey supply chain manager Jason Clement. “Like all Mercedes-Benz trucks, it’s well-built, reliable and cost-effective to operate. Just as importantly, the Econic leads the field in terms of safety, and is very popular with our crews. The opinions of front-line colleagues are key to Amey’s vehicle procurement strategy, and the low-entry
Mercedes-Benz scores particularly highly in terms of cab space and comfort.”
The Econic rides on full air suspension, and employs Active Brake Assist 4 emergency braking technology. Programmed to recognise other vehicles at higher speeds, as well as pedestrians when moving more slowly, this is capable of bringing it to a complete stop.
The truck, which has been awarded a five-star Direct Vision rating by Transport for London, also has an air-conditioned cab with deep panoramic windscreen, and accommodates up to four passengers. The driver’s low seating position, and the full-height, glazed folding side door specified by so many operators, including Amey, further aid visibility.
A single step and a predominantly flat floor that makes for easy cross-cab access also contribute to health and safety for operatives who may be in and out of the vehicle many times in a working day, by encouraging them always to use the safest side. To this comprehensive standard safety specification, Amey has added a full suite of cameras providing 360-degree visibility for drivers.