The £80,000 paver, operated by a team of six, can lay everything from wide roads to narrow footpaths more efficiently than previous equipment.
It can lay new surfaces quicker and more consistently than before and because it is owned and operated by the council, it means the authority is able to undertake the works at a lower cost than external contractors and has more flexibility over the timing of repair works to minimise disruption to road users.
Last month, the Chancellor announced in his Budget that the Government was allocating a further £420million of new money for local highways maintenance.
Northumberland was allocated £7.73million, the largest amount in the North East Combined Authority area, and the new machine will play a key role in road improvements. It forms part of the council’s comprehensive fleet replacement programme which involves more than 600 vehicles – from gritters to bin wagons – being replaced over the coming years.
Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “Improving our roads remains a top priority and this new paving machine means we can work faster and more efficiently to get repairs done.”
He added: “Across Northumberland we’re putting millions of pounds into repairs and resurfacing and trying to get as much pro-active work done before the cold winter weather bites. Where we can, we now make much more permanent pothole repairs which, although more expensive, will last much longer.
“By using the latest technology, communities will benefit from our investment for many years to come.”
Council leader Peter Jackson added: “We want everyone to feel proud of and enjoy where they live, and we can play our part by ensuring the roads that connect our many communities are as good as they can be.
“We appreciate we still have work to do in getting all our network to the highest standard but our teams are working throughout the year on improvements and this new equipment will ensure we can work even more productively.
“After the Beast from the East and one of the worst winters in memory, we have put substantial extra resources into fixing our roads and we are determined to make longer lasting repairs. I hope that residents can start to see the good progress which has been made over this summer.”