Dragon Patchers will continue to keep Devon's potholes filled

Traffic cones and mounds of asphalt, while road repairs.

Keeping Devon's roads pothole free - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

My postbag and email inbox have been doing overtime the past week with residents making it known to me that JCB has unveiled a new pothole-repairing machine that it claims is able to repair holes in less than eight minutes. 
Called the Pothole Pro, the all-in-one machine repairs holes four times faster than traditional methods yet is also significantly cheaper, according to the British firm.
The piece of kit is equipped with a cutter, sweeper/bucket and a hydraulic cropping tool, allowing it to cut defects, crop pothole edges and clean holes.
In initial testing, the machine filled 51 holes in 20 days – a task that JCB says would have taken a team of up to six fillers 63 days to achieve normally.
Will Devon be investing in one or more of these machines was the question I was asked?
The simple answer to that is certainly not at this time as we believe our contractors own machines do the same job and have been tried and tested right across Devon… Surely you’ve seen it? You haven’t? Well let me introduce you to Devon's Dragon Patchers.
These specialist pieces of kit are named so because they use flames to help remedy the highway's defects, in cold or wet weather, in just two minutes and uses a combination of compressed air, heat, bitumen and chippings to repair holes.
A pair of Dragon Patchers were successfully trialled in Devon during 2019.
The Dragon Patcher is operated by one person in a cab, is safer and more environmentally sustainable than traditional methods of defect repair. The area is blown clean, and for colder climates a flame is used to de-ice the surface and then sprays a hot bituminous emulsion to the area needing repair, followed by chippings. The surface is then immediately ready to take traffic. The patcher also treats minor cracks and crazing that could otherwise develop into potholes, thereby treating a potential defect before it occurs.
The Dragon Patcher is proven to be significantly quicker at repairs and costs are almost half those incurred using the traditional method. There is less waste and, most importantly, it is safer for road workers. 
We take pothole fixing very seriously in Devon and we are always looking for new and better ways of doing things but our Dragons will take a lot of beating.