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DVSA awards weighbridge contract

Britian’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has awarded a four-year contract to maintain and certify its network of roadside weighbridges to English axle weighing specialists Axtec.

The DVSA has 55 weighbridges across the UK, which are used for spot checks and roadside enforcement. Because the weighbridges are often used in prosecutions, they need to be frequently calibrated and rigorously tested to ensure compliance.

Axtec is the incumbent supplier of weighbridge technology to DVSA, and holds two approval certificates for its axle weighing systems; one for accuracy to within 0.5% and the other to within 0.25%.

It secured the repeat business based on its progress in efficient routine maintenance and calibration of the bridges over the past four years, as well as its ability to supply a unique weighbridge test vehicle, specially developed for the role.

Currently hauled by a DAF XF 105 Super Space Cab, the unique truck and trailer combination replaces the roles previously carried out by four separate vehicles – signalling a significant improvement in speed and efficiency.

The Axtec test vehicle is also used for emergency repair work at night or weekends, enabling repair and re-certification to be completed quickly and within contract deadlines. The contract also includes regular level surveys to certify the flat weighbridge approaches are within the stringent limits specified by law. Any remedial work is completed by Axtec’s own in-house construction team.

Axtec Managing Director, Keith Gresham, said, “Winning this contract for the fifth consecutive time is a ringing endorsement of the quality, speed and effectiveness of our service and a great way to mark our 25th anniversary as a business. DVSA has asked us to develop ways of reducing costs further, without compromising service standards, to deliver even better value for the taxpayer during the course of the new contract.”

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) maintains a network of nine dynamic axle weighing machines situated throughout Northern Ireland. These are used by DVA enforcement officers to ensure that vehicles comply with legal weight limits.

The weighbridges operate on a ‘dynamic axle’ principle, which means that axle weights are measured automatically as a vehicle is driven very slowly over a ground mounted sensor plate. The weight of each axle is then captured by computer and displayed to the driver on an external digital display. After this has been completed the equipment electronically totals this information, to provide the vehicle with an overall vehicle weight.

Weighbridges located at Toome, Belfast, Loughbrickland, Sprucefield, Nutts Corner and Larne provide free ‘self weigh’ facilities that enable drivers to voluntarily check the weights of their vehicles at any time.

Weighbridges located at Ballymena, Coleraine and Mallusk are situated in DVA Vehicle Test Centres. To use these weighbridges, prior arrangement should be made with the relevant Test Centre Manager.

DVA’s enforcement officers regularly carry out compulsory weight checks. This work contributes to improving road safety by stopping the continued movement of dangerously overloaded vehicles on Northern Ireland’s roads, regulating fair competition within the haulage industry, and reducing damage to bridge and road networks.