New pothole repair machines ‘are coming’ pledge Northamptonshire County Council

New pothole repair machines are still on track to start repairing Northamptonshire’s roads – but it is not yet known when they will be in action.

The county council is purchasing thermal repair machines
The county council is purchasing thermal repair machines

Last month, Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet agreed to endorse the purchase of two thermal repair machines to be used by KierWSP.

The machines are more environmentally friendly, cost just £35 per square metre compared to £90 per square metre using current methods, and would repair up to 100 potholes a day compared to 40 using traditional road repair methods.

The new machine had already been trialled in Wellingborough and East Northants, and according to the county council was scheduled to begin work in other areas in March.

Since then however the coronavirus pandemic has been the primary focus of the county council’s attention, and the pothole machines are yet to be out on the street carrying out repairs.

Asking for an update at last week’s virtual cabinet meeting (April 14), Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Chris Stanbra said: “I wanted to ask about the pothole machines which we heard about last month, and when we expect them to be available and actually delivering repairs to the roads.

“My understanding is that they are not yet and I have been enquiring about a particular road in my division as no doubt other members have too, and was quite perturbed to hear that there was no funding at this time to carry out larger-scale repairs from KierWSP. I’m hoping that’s not the case, but when do we expect the new machines to be in the county and repairing potholes?”

Responding to the question, Councillor Jason Smithers, the cabinet member for highways, did not set a deadline of when he expects the machines to be in action, saying: “We’re dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s at the moment before we go ahead and get the machines in. But don’t worry, they will be coming, and it’s just finalising those little details.”

The thermal heater works by melting the existing poor road surface and producing a permanent, heat-sealed repair which re-establishes the original quality of the road.

The council says each 2x1m patch would now around eight to 12 minutes to complete and ‘requires only a minimum amount of new material, resulting in almost zero waste’.