Potholes could soon be a thing of the past


A new way of fixing potholes is being introduced on Central Bedfordshire’s roads this month to reduce pothole repair times dramatically.

Named the Velocity Patcher, the machine can fix up to 150 potholes per day and it can permanently repair a pothole in about two minutes – a fraction of the time it usually takes using a conventional method to do the job. The process leaves a permanent, level repair that means the council can quickly re-open the roads to traffic.

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Services, said: “Maintaining our roads is a key priority for the council, and we’re constantly investigating new ways to use technology to keep our road network moving.

“We trialled a slightly different machine to test this method earlier in the year and were pleased with what we saw. We’ll still be closely monitoring the quality of repairs but this should enable us to make real progress on tackling something we know impacts on residents across the whole area.”

The machine operates a three step process:

1. High-velocity air is used to remove all dust and debris from the hole

2. A cold bitumen mixture is forced into every crack and crevice, sealing the hole and protecting it by preventing water getting in.

3. A final mix is fired into the hole at high speed, evenly coating the area and providing a firm, level finish.

As heat is not involved in the process, the Velocity Patcher is also a greener way of repairing potholes. It produces exceptionally low CO2 emissions, leaves minimal waste material and causes no further damage to the road.

Cllr Spurr added: “We’re conscious that we need to maintain a balance between keeping the roads safe and minimising disruption for our residents, and introducing new vehicles and changing our approach can help us to achieve this. The Velocity Patcher is another way that we are looking to improve the service for our residents.”

The council invests each year in a fund that is aimed mainly at emergency repairs of dangerous pothole and road defects. This new approach will allow the council to treat a large number of more minor defects, for which funding would not normally be available, preventing the more serious potholes from developing.

The patcher will be used for the next two months and is funded by money recently secured from the Department of Transport (DfT). Around a third of this money is being spent on repairing existing defects. The remainder of the funding is being used to contribute to our structural maintenance programme of full resurfacing schemes; this approach prolongs the life of the roads and reduces the occurrence of defects such as potholes. Information on our approach is available at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/resurfacing-factsheet

A list of roads being treated in our structural maintenance programme is available at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/travelling/roads-safety-and-highways/plans/default.aspx