Tideway, the organisation behind London’s ‘super sewer’ project, believes high direct vision truck cabs will become the norm across the construction sector.

Speaking at Freight in the City Expo last week, Tideway shared data collected so far from a trial of 15 Dennis Eagle Elite 6 low-entry cab (LEC) tippers used at its onstruction sites, which joined the fleet in July.

Tideway contractor S Walsh & Sons, fleet operator at the trial sites, compared their on-the-job performance to a Volvo FMX diesel counterpart.

Results showed no operational disadvantage in terms of mpg, payload, emissions or unladen weight.

Tim Hapwood, principal transport planner at Peter Brett Associates who has been co-ordinating the LEC project for Tideway, said the drivers’ “very honest” feedback to the LECs was mixed when it came to liking their use on urban roads.

However, they were “broadly positive” when it came to overall visibility and “overwhelmingly positive” when it came to better visibility of pedestrians and cyclists.

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While the harshest ground conditions could pose a challenge for LECs, a separate tipping point was created as a means to overcome the issue at the most difficult Tideway site.

Hapwood added that TfL's ongoing work to improve ground conditions and provide a rating system for sites would also help address this issue.

“Things will only get better and better” in terms of LECs’ performance and their acceptance by drivers, said Hapgood.

Manufacturers will continue to refine products following user feedback, costs will come down as uptake increases, and regulation such as London’s Direct Vision Standard will help promote their uses “to the point where LECs become the operating norm for the industry”, he added.

“This project leaves a very positive Tideway legacy and helps achieve the Mayor of London's ‘Vision Zero’ ambition [to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London roads].

“Through collaboration, we think this has been a real success.”

The Tideway project will see the construction of a 25km tunnel running from Acton in the West through the centre of London to Abbey Wells in the east.

Construction work is being carried out across 24 sites, 11 of which are on the banks of the Thames.

During the seven-year construction period, some eight million tonnes of spoil and materials will require transportation on and off-site.

Much of this will be done by a fleet of 40 barges with a payload between 50 – 2,500 tonnes.

This will account for 72% of the total waste movement and remove 360,000 HGV movements.

However, there will remain 140,000 HGV journeys over the construction period with an average 135 HGV deliveries per day.