City of London takes safety lead with new construction vehicle
Published: 24 February, 2016
A ground-breaking construction vehicle from Mercedes-Benz has been launched by the City of London Corporation in the Square Mile.
The 8x4 Mercedes Econic wears the colours of the authority's Bow-based fleet contractor JB Riney, which became the first operator to place an order for the new tipper-grab.
The Econic features a deep, panoramic windscreen and a fully-glazed kerbside door. This, coupled with a much lower seating position compared to a conventional construction truck, affords unrivalled visibility. It allows the driver to see, and even make direct eye contact with those on bicycles and motorbikes, or on foot, at potentially hazardous junctions. Safety is further enhanced by a full complement of cameras.
Fittingly, the new vehicle was unveiled at the Aldgate Gyratory, an area which is now the subject of a major development project designed, among other things, to enhance safety by creating new cycling routes and pedestrian cross points.
Michael Welbank, Chairman of the Planning & Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, said: ‘We take the issue of road safety incredibly seriously and I am delighted that we have adopted this new, high-visibility tipper. Anything which improves the field of vision for a lorry driver, so they can better see vulnerable road users, is a welcome step forward.'
The new Mercedes-Benz will be assigned to the Aldgate scheme until late summer, carrying spoil from the site back to JB Riney's transfer yard, from where it is sent for recycling, and delivering materials such as sand, concrete and paving slabs.
The Econic 3235 ENA truck has a single front steer axle, a double-drive bogie and a rear-steer axle. This configuration gives it an impressively tight turning circle, and makes it significantly more manoeuvrable than a standard 32-tonne construction eight-wheeler, a major advantage for operation in the City's tight streets.
City of London Business Improvement & Performance Manager Vince Dignam encouraged JB Riney to commission the new vehicle.
‘I really like the concept,' he said.
‘We are committed supporters of the CLOCS (Construction Logistics & Cyclist Safety) and FORS (Freight Operator Recognition Scheme) initiatives, and this vehicle is definitely setting new standards. Like the view from its cab, the safety benefits are clear to see.'
Barry Parker, Transport & Vehicle Purchase Manager at JB Riney, said: ‘We spent a lot of time talking to representatives of Mercedes-Benz and to S & B Commercials' Key Account Manager Vick Croker, to ensure we had the specification spot on.
‘It's a beautiful piece of equipment, the rear-steer system being particularly impressive.'