New pothole repair machine takes to the road in Plymouth

Council Leader Tudor Evans (centre), watching the Roadmaster in action with Victoria Hutchins from Amey and Matt Walker from Archway Products, who manufacture the Roadmaster.

Council Leader Tudor Evans (centre), watching the Roadmaster in action with Victoria Hutchins from Amey and Matt Walker from manufacturer Archway Products.

A new machine that can repair potholes in minutes has taken to the road in Plymouth.

The Roadmaster patcher is the latest weapon in Plymouth’s anti-pothole armoury and one of only 14 currently in the UK.

Dubbed ‘the world’s most advanced potholing machine’, the Roadmaster is being hired for a month-long trial at a cost of around £58,000 (including materials), paid for by Plymouth City Council from its recent Department for Transport pothole grant.

It repairs individual potholes much more quickly and effectively than traditional methods, which involve cutting out a square hole around the defect with an angle grinder, filling the hole in with tarmac and gravel and rolling the patch to compress the filling.

The Roadmaster, which is nicknamed ‘the Dalek’ because of the robotic arm in front, automatically fills potholes with an air-blown bitumen compound, which is fed to the arm via the on-board hopper.

Council Leader Tudor Evans went to see the Roadmaster in action. He said: “This is a pretty impressive bit of kit, which is enabling crews to fix more potholes in a much shorter space of time – meaning roads are made safe quicker and with less disruption to motorists. Introducing technology like this is just one of the ways we’re tackling the problem of potholes on Plymouth’s roads – despite widespread Government cuts.”

Victoria Hutchins, Watchman-in-Chief for the Council’s highways contractor Amey, said: “Other Amey contracts across the UK have had great success with the Roadmaster. We only started using it on Tuesday but so far we are extremely impressed; it is delivering the equivalent of five gangs’ work.

“Although we will still have a minimum of 10 gangs per day repairing potholes, we will be using this machine over the next four weeks to compliment the range of treatments we are using to reduce the number of potholes, therefore improving safety and the condition of our roads.”

The Roadmaster is carrying out individual pothole repairs alongside the Council’s 12-week resurfacing and reconstruction programme, which got under way in June to repair some of the most severely damaged roads in Plymouth.