United Utilities takes delivery of Volvo FM-460 specially designed for narrow site entrance

Commercial Motor
August 7, 2017

United Utilities has taken delivery of a low height Volvo FM-460, with 4-axle drawbar Crossland tanker, to help it safely negotiate a narrow tunnel at the entrance to the site it operates from.

The truck, supplied by Thomas Hardie Commercials, transports bio-resource product from the United Utilities wastewater treatment works at Knutsford, Cheshire. The entrance to the site is via a brick-lined tunnel under a busy railway line. The tunnel is only 1.9m wide at the narrowest point under its arched roof.

A concrete kerb runs the length of the tunnel on both sides, further reducing the available space for the truck. The low-height sleeper version of the FM cab helps reduce overall height, as does running on low-profile tyres, which helps the 5.2m wheelbase FM-460 achieve a nominal chassis height of just 850mm.

It comes with air suspension on all axles and the front-axle air suspension can be lowered by up to 50mm if required. FMX-style mirrors mounted on arms positioned close in to the cab and without cowls help keep down the overall width.

The truck also features Volvo Dynamic Steering, Adaptive Cruise Control with forward collision warning and emergency braking, Driver Alert Support system and Lane Change Support. United Utilities transport co-ordinator Dale Savage said: “In addition to the truck spec, which we worked on with Steve Cruickshank from Thomas Hardie for about a year before we went ahead with the order, we have also done some work on widening the approach to the tunnel so the driver can straighten the drawbar up before he enters it.

“We needed to retain the existing entrance to the site as it wasn't possible to gain permission from the local landowner to build a new road in, and rebuilding the railway bridge wasn't an option due to cost and disruption.” United Utilities used a full-size Styrofoam model of the truck's cab front to validate the external dimensions of the real thing.

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