A new full specification John Deere XUV Gator utility vehicle has joined the Humber Bridge Board's maintenance fleet, and is currently helping to keep the bridge and surrounding areas clear of snow and ice.
For winter work the road homologated four-wheel drive Gator is fitted with a rear-mounted spreader and a front-mounted V-shaped snow blade. The spreader uses urea prills to avoid the corrosion than can be caused by normal salt-based grit.
"The Gator is our first such vehicle, and it's already proving to be a really fantastic all-round utility machine," says maintenance manager John Williams, who ordered the Gator from local dealer F G Adamson & Son of Swanland, near Hull, after visiting both the Yorkshire and Driffield shows in the summer.
"The spreader, snowblade and tipping load bed make it ideal for clearing the footpaths and cycle paths across the bridge during the winter. One of the first jobs for the Gator was to replace all our old gritting bins, many of which would not have been accessible by a more traditional vehicle. We ordered it with a fully enclosed cab, with glass doors and a heater, so it's perfect for winter use - in fact the dealer said it's probably the best specification Gator they've ever sold.
"In the summer it will be used very much as a grounds maintenance vehicle, for general transporting jobs such as recovering litter from bins around the 30 acres of surrounding estate, which includes car parking for around 500 cars, a cafe area and public toilets. We can even take the doors off in the summer if we want to, which makes it even more versatile.
"I had an inkling earlier in the year that we would need to buy a machine like this at some point, so I looked at various brands over the summer, and the John Deere Gator just seemed to be a better quality machine all-round, plus we got a good deal from Adamsons. It's really a super bit of kit and we're very happy with it."