In Northern Ireland, the Road Service within the Department of Regional Development (DRDNI) is responsible for over 25,000km of public roads, together with some 9,700km of footways, 5,800 bridges, 271,000 street lights and 367 public car parks. The service is tasked with keeping the road network safe to use and reliable, a remit that became particularly challenging last winter, when several prolonged periods of bad weather threatened to bring the region to a standstill.
“As weather conditions worsened we had problems with roads becoming blocked with abandoned vehicles,” said DRDNI Fleet Engineer Roy Kennedy. Nevertheless with the commitment of the Road Service team, and with some help from Econ spreaders, the majority of roads remained open even during the worst of the weather.
Earlier this year, the DRDNI took delivery of 12 Econ machines, comprising nine 18-tonne DAF spreaders on DAF chassis and three 26-tonne, 9 cu m demountable spreaders with tipper bodies, on Iveco chassis, that can be used for both winter service and for surface dressing during the rest of the year. The order comes in the wake of an eight-vehicle order the previous year that also featured Econ winter maintenance bodies.
Roy Kennedy, Fleet Engineer at the DRDNI said: “Our team of gritter operators find the Econ equipment easy to use. The DRDNI have also found that Econ continue to provide the best solution they can within our published mandatory tender criteria . The vehicles perform well, and last winter several of the newly delivered machines went straight from PDI at TBF Thompson to front line operations with no issues when were struck by heavy falls of snow and sub-zero conditions.”
The DAF machines were supplied by TBF Thompson in Belfast. TBF’s sales manager Alan Espie explained that despite other submissions being put forward, the bid that included the Econ gritter bodies was successful. “We have been involved with Econ for several years and have found them really good to work with. The whole team is friendly and approachable and they have always met the deadlines demanded by every project,” said Alan.