Louth gets a pothole repair machine
County Louth Council has become the first local authority in Ireland to introduce a new pothole repair machine, which will halve the cost of current repair work used by councils across the country.
The machine, which was manufactured by JCB, is operational across the UK and can cover up to 250 square meters per day or up to 700 potholes per month.
The machine works by cutting, planing and sweeping the road before filling the gaps with hot asphalt, which lasts longer.
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It is designed to work in congested urban areas and faster repair time means less disruption as roads will be closed for shorter periods.
“Basically it integrates around four processes into one machine,” said Mark Johnston, Principal Engineer for Louth County Council.
“He cuts the hole first with the grinder, he shaves the hole with a big chisel then he cleans the hole with a big brush and puts it all back in the back of a truck mechanically,” he explained. .
“As a rule of thumb, a pothole would take an hour or maybe an hour and 10 [minutes] repair and we are looking to reduce that time with this machine,” he added.
The machine has been in use in the UK for a year, with Stoke-on-Trent City Council being the first to invest in the Pothole Pro machine.
In just four months, he repaired 10,000 square meters of pothole-riddled road surface, equivalent in size to eight Olympic swimming pools and which would normally take three years to build.
As well as providing a more efficient solution, the automated nature of the machine reduces the safety risks to operators often posed by hand-held power tools.
“It makes the process a lot safer, it makes the job a lot easier because it eliminates a lot of the backbreaking work, jackhammering and hard work,” Johnston said.
The JCB Pothole Pro was partly funded by the Department for Transport.
“It’s a prototype machine so there’s only one in the country at the moment,” said Mark Johnston, principal engineer at Louth County Council.
“Louth has its share of potholes and we will be working on that over the next few months,” he added.