‘All-in-one’ pothole fixer trialled in Northumberland

The curse of Northumberland's motorists.The curse of Northumberland's motorists.
The curse of Northumberland's motorists.
Roads chiefs in Northumberland have been trialling an ‘all-in-one’ pothole fixer in an attempt to get to grips with problems on the county’s highways.

Bosses at Northumberland County Council have previously tested similar machines to try to keep motorists happy and avoid claims for damage.

But while previous creations have failed to provide a satisfactory solution, it is hoped the latest addition to the local authority’s armoury could be up to the task.

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“We [previously] acquired two jet patchers that were primarily [used to patch potholes] in the summer months and then gritting in the winter months,” said Paul Jones, Director of Local Services and Housing Delivery. “They were decent bits of kit, but also very hungry beasts to feed and very expensive to operate as well.

“We have recently been trialling a JCB vehicle, a really fancy bit of kit which enables you to plane off the road surface and then re-lay behind that, kind of like an all in one function.

“Where technology does come forward and offer improvements in both productivity and value for money, we’ll grab it with both hands.”

This week, the highways chiefs faced criticism after a cyclist was “somersaulted” off her bike and had to be taken to hospital after hitting a pothole near Longframlington.

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Earlier this year, engineering firm JCB claimed live tests on the M6 had shown its Pothole Pro machine could repair a pothole in less than eight minutes.

Mr Jones was speaking to members of the county council’s Communities and Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which heard issues caused by Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic had meant new additions to the local authority’s fleet of vehicles worth £3million had either been delivered late or so far not at all this year.

According to a report for county councillors, the current roster includes 391 vehicles, with efforts being stepped up to replace as many as possible with electric alternatives.

However, Mr Jones added electric vehicles may not be able to fulfil all the council’s needs: “One of the concerns with some of the alternative fuels is what is the environmental impact of the supply of an alternative fuel. If you start looking at where they come from, what you wouldn’t want is massive monocultures of not particularly environmentally friendly fuel production taking over