Fire-breathing “dragon” patcher slashes pothole repair times

Grant Prior 8 years ago
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Skanska is cutting pothole repair times in half with a new machine from Sweden being trialled with highways authorities in England.

The Swedish Patcher has been nicknamed ‘the dragon’ by highways engineers because of the fire-emitting  nozzle it uses to de-ice the surface area of potholes on Scandinavian roads.

The patcher is operated by one person in a cab and is safer and more environmentally sustainable than traditional methods of pothole repair.

The area is blown clean, and for colder climates a flame is used to de-ice the surface before spraying a hot bituminous emulsion to the area needing repair, followed by chippings.

The road is then immediately ready to take traffic.

The patcher also treats minor cracks and crazing that could otherwise develop into potholes.

Costs are almost half those of traditional repair methods and the technique is safer for roadworkers.

The outcome of the UK trials showed that the Swedish Patcher was twice as quick when compared with a manual repair solution.

Gregor Craig, Managing Director at Skanska, said:  “Bringing innovative techniques from Sweden to the UK is part of our strategy of sharing best practice and learning across Skanska.

“The Swedish Patcher is an example of the strategy working in practice.”

Nicola Debnam of Local Infrastructure and Street Management at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Cambridgeshire County Council is always looking for new and better ways to maintain our roads.

“Reducing the time it takes to repair potholes is good for the Council’s taxpayer and road users. We will be assessing whether this method will be suitable for our roads.”

Andy Tatt, Head of Peterborough Highway Services for Peterborough City Council, said: “Potholes are a nuisance to everyone and if we can find a more efficient and effective method to tackle them, then that would be good news for us and all road users alike.

“We are excited that Skanska is testing out this machine in the Peterborough area and we are pleased with the results of the trial.”

Mark Kemp, the Oxfordshire County Council’s Deputy Director for Commercial Services, said: “The “Dragon” is another innovation that we are trying out with our contractor and I will be very interested to see how it does in Oxfordshire and other parts of the UK.

“We take pothole fixing very seriously and we are always looking for new and better ways of doing things.

“This sort of mobile patching is ideal for quieter roads as it can keep on the move and does several areas in one go without holding up traffic.”

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