Norse Commercial Services (NCS) has purchased a Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor and Tough Cut deck, through supplying dealer Ernest Doe & Sons, to help maintain the embankments of the new Broadland Northway.
The 19.5 km (12 mile) dual carriageway, formerly known as the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NNDR) connects traffic from the eastern approaches to the northwest of the city.
Completed in April 2018 at a cost of £208 million, it has 39 km (24 miles) of embankments that have been planted with 380,000 native shrubs and trees, including gorse, oak, acer and hawthorn. Areas with no tree or shrub planting have been seeded with four differing mixes of wildflower seeds. It is these wildflower areas that the Ventrac and Tough Cut deck are maintaining.
Martin Adcock is operations manager at Norwich Norse Environmental, one of the three companies involved in the joint venture to maintain the highway, and was the person tasked with finding a solution to the maintenance issue.
“My first action was an internet search for slope mowers. Remote controlled mowers, including our Roboflail, featured prominently but productivity was an issue due to their limited width of cut. The Ventrac also featured in the search and it appeared that it could do the job. However, I had not heard of the machine before and was quite sceptical. I contacted our dealer, Ernest Doe, who is a trusted partner and has supplied us with groundscare equipment for many years.
“They advised that they had experience of the machine and could arrange a demonstration, which was done very quickly. Once I’d seen it in action, and had a chance to operate it myself, I realised that it would certainly do the job for us. The demo was brilliant; it tackled the embankments with ease and left a very acceptable finish."
Jack Adcock is the principal operator of the Ventrac and said, “Used in conjunction with our Roboflail, which can be used on slopes up to 55 degrees, we have all the right equipment to do the job and keep the highway looking really presentable.”