Its official name is Enhanced Customer Response Unit (ECRU), but if it delivers on its promise to ‘dramatically reduce delays for drivers’, it’ll develop a reputation as a ‘super-truck’.
The ECRU – which is the first of its kind in the UK – is being trialled in the West Midlands from July, with the vehicle manned by both Highways England traffic officers and incident support staff from contractor Kier.
It combines the expertise, knowledge and equipment of both teams who deal with post-incident clean-ups and repairs.
Motorists in the West Midlands are unlikely to miss the ECRU super-truck – it looks like a full-size Lego Technic creation. The warning beacons and electronic message signs are the most visible features.
But the ECRU can also carry bigger signs and more cones. Super-truck is super-size.
Other features of note include impact-absorbing cushions on the back to protect road workers, an on-board sweeper and a pressure washer.
Highways England corporate group leader Martin Bolt said: “Highways England continually strives to develop new ways and innovations that will help keep our road network clear and traffic moving.
“By combining services in one vehicle we can deal with incidents and issues more quickly.
“Working with our partners Kier we have been able to take huge strides in ensuring smoother, safer journeys for all road users.”
Scott Cooper, managing director strategic highways at Kier, added: “Having one innovation performing a range of tasks will allow us to respond to incidents quicker, inevitably saving time for our customers.
“Jointly occupying the vehicle demonstrates our continued commitment to working collaboratively to improve efficiencies and achieve the best results for both road users and workers.”
If the West Midlands trial is successful, you can expect to see the ECRU multi-tasking super-truck appearing on a main road near you in the future.