Supplied by dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, the new additions are all Arocs 2635 models, fitted with Schmidt Stratos grit hoppers and spreading equipment, as well as mounts for plough blades.
They are powered by 7.7-litre engines, which produce 350bhp and drive both rear axles via PowerShift automated manual transmissions.
The council has moved to a new system, using salt impregnated with molasses to stick to the road surface, instead of the previous method of ‘pre-wet’ salting with heavy liquid tanks on board.
“It therefore negates the need for water tanks and means we can put the same size of body on a smaller, 6x4 chassis – which results in a welcome cost saving,” says Darrell Redford, the council’s network resilience manager.
The vehicles are equipped with computer-controlled spreading systems: the routes are programmed in advance so the spreaders deposit the correct amount of salt on to each section of road automatically. As well as improving efficiency, it boosts safety as the driver is free to concentrate on the road and traffic conditions.
“The double-drive 26-tonne Arocs is the perfect truck for this demanding role,” adds Redford. “Salt and machinery are not natural allies, but we know from experience that Mercedes-Benz gritters are extremely reliable, and are engineered to stand up to the job extremely well.”
Residual value is another bonus, he says, even after being in service for up to 15 years: “We anticipate having no difficulty in selling them on for a good price.”