Amey’s latest order for 15 Mercedes-Benz trucks includes a dozen low-entry Econic 18-tonners, chosen primarily for their safety credentials and ease of access by crews.
All but one of these vehicles are destined for operation on the £325 million Area 10 Highways England maintenance and response contract on which Amey began work in 2019. This 15-year agreement covers routine maintenance, defect repairs, emergency incident responses and severe weather services, on 420 km of motorway and 80 km of major A roads in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire.
Dealer group Rygor Commercials has just delivered the first four new trucks: 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 specialist Acklea, while the barrier rigs are the work of Palfinger UK, which is part of the TH White Group, of nearby Devizes.
Mercedes-Benz is one of two preferred truck suppliers to Amey; the brand accounts for approximately three-quarters of its 500-strong truck fleet.
All of Amey’s Mercedes-Benz vehicles arrived via Rygor Commercials. As with previous orders, the latest fleet is the subject of a contract hire agreement with supply chain partner and vehicle provider Hitachi Capital.
The 12 Econics are 1827L models with 7.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engines producing 200 kW (268bhp). These are paired with 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated manual transmissions.
The Econics due for delivery later this year are also being built to traffic management vehicle specification by Acklea. The only one of these which has not been ordered for the Area 10 contract will work in Scotland, as will a 26-tonne Arocs 2630 gritter.
The two remaining vehicles, a pair of tippers which are also based on Arocs chassis, in this case 18-tonne 1824 variants, are earmarked for Amey’s Area 7 contract with Highways England, which covers 787 km of roads in the East Midlands.
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 as long ago as 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. “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. Amey has also added a full suite of cameras providing 360-degree visibility for drivers.