Doncaster takes on first multi-purpose construction and spreading vehicle

Published:  30 January, 2019

Major regeneration projects in Doncaster have prompted the borough council to buy a Dennis Eagle Elite 6 for use as a construction vehicle by day – but also a spreader by night.

Developments, including house building and the expansion of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, are being accompanied by numerous road improvement projects and the Elite 6, which has been built to be safer for operational staff and vulnerable road users in urban environments, will have several different construction roles.

It has been fitted with a demountable tipper body and has a crane for lifting and unloading but it will also go to work on winter nights as a gritter on the borough’s extensive road network. The variety of specialist roles is enabled by the Econ QCB system, which enables a range of attachments to be added including a 6cm2 gritter unit and even a snow plough.

Doncaster Council’s Highways Operations Manager Gary Willmot said: ‘When I saw Dennis Eagle at the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC it made me question, what do they currently provide? And could they adjust to suit our needs? It was apparent that they could adapt a typical refuse collection vehicle to a tipper lorry but I needed more.

‘We needed to find a solution that would suit the varied works we provide in Doncaster. We were able to negotiate adaptations that met our specific needs, gave extra room for passengers and ensured the ongoing safety of our staff out on the highway.

‘We have been proud to be able to work together and create this vehicle and hope it will benefit other service providers in the future.’

The vehicle is powered by a Volvo 280bhp engine and is set up in 4x2 configuration featuring full air suspension on both the front and drive axles. This ensures a smooth and efficient ride on difficult terrains for both the driver and up to three crewmembers. The ride height can also be raised at speeds up to 15kmph so off-road approach and departure angles are not compromised.

Although originally developed for the waste and recycling sector, the vehicle is now coming to the attention of the construction industry where safety is also paramount. Here, Dennis Eagle has been involved with the Construction Logistics and Community Safety initiative – better known as CLOCS – from the outset.

The project aims to reduce injuries and deaths caused by work-related road risk and Dennis Eagle helped develop the CLOCS Standard, which provides the industry with a set of best practices and policies.

One of those policies is that operators must ensure their vehicles meet the Silver Standard of the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) and Dennis Eagle, showing its full support for the scheme, ensures every vehicle leaving its factory meets this requirement.

In addition to the CLOCS nationwide standard, the Elite 6’s low-entry cab provides numerous safety features itself, most noticeably the low driver-seating position and panoramic windows that allow the driver and other road users – including cyclists – to clearly see each other.

Charlie Everitt, Sales Support Engineer at Dennis Eagle, said: ‘When we saw Doncaster Council’s specification we knew they clearly required a robust and well-built vehicle for such a demanding role and the Elite 6 was obviously a contender.

‘We met all their requirements and they loved the high level of visibility and direct vision the cab provided. Then we worked with Econ to get their QCB system fitted and the vehicle was delivered in time for the spreading season.

‘It was an exciting new project for Dennis Eagle – it’s the first time we’ve fitted a spreader, snow plough or demountable body to an Elite 6 chassis. But it is also another vehicle in the construction sector which is increasingly interested in the Elite 6 and its growing reputation for enhanced safety.’

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