Shropshire road trial for speedy pothole repair machine

Highways chiefs have been gearing up efforts to rid Shropshire's roads of potholes with the launch of a new road machine which can carry out repairs within eight minutes.

Mike Evans of Evans Construction
Mike Evans of Evans Construction

The JCB Pothole Pro patch fixer was rolled out at a special demonstration event on the border A40 road between Chirbury and Forden in Powys yesterday.

It is being used in project trials for Shropshire Council and road repair contractors Evans Construction.

Such gear is becoming popular among councils for pothole, patching and surfacing work on carriageways. It carries tools including a saw and cropping tool to cut into the road surface, a sweeper, a bucket arm to fill in the gap and roller all with one machine.

Mike Evans of Evans Construction, who work with council main contractor Kier, said: “The demo went really well this week. We covered around 2,690sq ft in two days which is far more than we would usually be able to do.

"I’m confident that using the Pothole Pro would be a much better way of working for us – it would change the way we approach pothole repairs entirely and make it amuch more efficient process. Also, it’s a permanent repair so all-round better really.”

Shropshire Council came under fire last year when it was revealed that department bosses hired a highways consultant at a cost of £1,000 per day to provide "crucial advice" on fixing road defects on a six-month contract. This was in addition to paying construction company Kier to maintain the roads, but recently came under fire for "not reacting quickly to reports of damage".

The council's teams have fixed more than 16,000 potholes to the end of January compared to almost 13,000 in each of the of the previous two years.

Government funding for repairs is set to be cut in the new financial year with the county's share reduced by £7 million to £20.6m.

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