Atego 816 - Midlands Expressway (52)

M6toll Puts Safety First With Euro VI Mercedes-Benz Atego

Maintenance teams responsible for ensuring that traffic runs smoothly on the strategic M6toll route through the West Midlands have welcomed their first Euro VI truck, a 7.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego.

Key to the chassis’ appeal for road operator Midland Expressway Limited (MEL) was the proven reliability of its previous Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and a cab capable of carrying a team of three operatives in comfort and safety.

The Incident Support Unit is on call round-the-clock to aid customers requiring assistance. It is also used by staff undertaking routine tasks, including lighting and road sign maintenance, and litter picking.

Supplied by Dealer Midlands Truck & Van, the Atego 816 has an S ClassicSpace cab and is powered by an advanced, four-cylinder engine which transmits its 115 kW (156 hp) output to the road via the smooth and swift-changing, standard-fit Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated gearbox.

The vehicle’s body was built by PD Stevens & Sons of Market Drayton, Shropshire. A platform with rails and fold-down steps for safe operation, it carries cones and, in a large storage box, signs, lamps and materials for cleaning up after spills, as well as fuel for customers who run out, water and an assortment of tools. The Atego is also fitted with a high-visibility back board complete with strobes and flashing LED lights.

The new arrival replaces a 7.5-tonner from the previous Atego generation and has joined a fleet that includes two 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Axors, a barrier repair rig and a tipper with grab and clamshell bucket used for general maintenance and clear-up work.  MEL also has another Atego on order, this a 12-tonne traffic management version which will be used primarily to lay cones.

Opened in 2003, the 27-mile M6toll bypasses one of Europe’s most congested motorways. It was designed and built by Midland Expressway Limited, which also holds the Government concession for its operation and maintenance until 2054. A private company, MEL employs a team of 130 people to keep the road running safely and successfully.

MEL Motorway Maintenance Manager Steve Warren said: “The Mercedes-Benz Atego is the only 7.5-tonner that allows you to carry a third, full-sized man on a proper, individual seat, rather than a bench or ‘baby’ seat. Although this vehicle is usually crewed by a two-man team, we’ll sometimes send three out so this is a very useful feature.

“The auto ’box has also been well received by our drivers, who do a lot of stop-start work on the hard shoulder, while I’m confident that our latest Atego will prove every bit as reliable as its three 7.5-tonne predecessors.”

The Euro VI Mercedes-Benz Atego range comprises no fewer than 42 model variants in the 6.5-16-tonne gvw light distribution segment. Customers can choose from four cab designs, all with new seats and ergonomically designed dashboards.

Power comes from state-of-the-art four-cylinder OM 934 – as fitted to the M6toll vehicle – and six-cylinder OM936 engines. These offer a 90% reduction in particulate and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, while consuming significantly less fuel and up to 40% less AdBlue than their Euro 5 equivalents.

Meanwhile, Atego drivers benefit from the impressively high torque characteristics of these engines, even at low revs, as well as outstanding comfort, visibility and manoeuvrability – the chassis, rear suspension, cab mounting and steering system have all been comprehensively reworked.