Cambridgeshire County Council recently opened a new guided Busway which has been designed to relieve congestion problems. However, the dedicated winter maintenance equipment was too large to effectively treat the adjacent track. A solution was found in a multifunctional vehicle that can operate all year round.
Cambridgeshire County Council has acquired a Multihog multipurpose implement carrier to keep the track next to its Guided Busway free from ice and snow in the coming months. The revolutionary Busway opened in August and at just under 16 miles it is the longest of its kind in the world. It gives residents a high quality alternative to the long queues and uncertain journey times on the notoriously congested A14.
The route follows that of old railway lines, and the car-free pathway which has been built alongside the section from St. Ives to Cambridge city centre is used as a maintenance track, footpath and cycleway. The Council's snow clearing equipment designated for treating the Busway itself is too large to be used on the pathway, so Highways and Maintenance Manager Richard Kingston and his team needed to look for an alternative. “After seeing a demo of the Multihog we realised that this compact and very manoeuvrable vehicle would access all areas and so suited our requirements perfectly.”
From the wide range of winter resilience attachments available for use with the Multihog, Cambridge Council has chosen a frontmounted snow plough and rear-mounted 1,200L brine sprayer. The sprayer was preferred over a gritter to ensure very accurate spraying in a defined area, which minimises the environmental impact of stray grit. Due to the dimensions of the pathway, Multihog designers came up with a solution for the spraying bars, which have been manufactured to the same width as the vehicle itself.
Richard commented: “We were impressed with the flexibility of the manufacturers to quickly adapt this to our specifications. We now have a piece of kit we can put into operation at the onset of bad weather to keep the pathway cleared and safe for pedestrians and cyclists who are in close proximity to fast buses.”
If weather conditions are particularly adverse the Multihog will also be deployed for ploughing and spraying in other areas such as the town centre and on rural and narrow roads. With 4-wheel drive, a powerful 90 hp engine and a top road speed of 40 km/h it can easily be driven to troublespots that other vehicles may find hard to access.
A further bonus is the Multihog's ability to be used all year round. The council is looking at 52-week-per-year operation for the base unit by adding further attachments such as a patch planer and sweeper once the winter season is over. This will more than justify the expenditure on the vehicle, as it is “not going to be sitting in a garage for half the year,” said Richard.
The diesel powered, hydrostatically driven Multihog is designed and manufactured in Ireland with particular focus on increased product utilisation, lower operating costs and a safe and comfortable working environment. It can be used with an almost limitless amount of attachments for a wide variety of highway, winter maintenance and groundscare tasks. It has a towing capacity of three tonnes, and the quick release mechanism enables all attachments to be changed or demounted in a couple of minutes.