British manufacturer JCB has launched a new vehicle that’s specifically designed to eradicate potholes from our roads in record time.
Called the PotholePro, the heavy-duty machine has been revealed ahead of National Pothole Day on Thursday, though it has already been undergoing trials in England for months.
JCB says it is the most efficient vehicle of its type, providing the repair capability usually required from three separate machines. That means it not only cuts down on pothole filling costs and time but also reduces the emissions impact usually involved to fix them and – at a price of £145,000 – is more affordable for local authorities and road operators.
The PotholePro has already been used in a trial in Stoke-on-Trent, where it has been able to fill a road crater in less than eight minutes, accelerating repair times by 700 per cent.
JCB’s fast pothole filler: The British digger manufacturer has released its latest model, the £145,000 PotholePro, that could rapidly repair the millions of potholes on our roads
The British digger manufacturer says the machine halves the cost of current pothole fixing used by councils and highways agencies across the country,
Its development has been led by JCB chairman, Lord Bamford, who described potholes as the ‘scourge of our nation’ and that he is ‘personally’fixated on finding a solution’ to eradicate them.
‘We simply cannot allow our road network to continue to be blighted by potholes,’ he explained.
‘JCB’s solution is simple and cost effective and fixes potholes permanently, first time. Once the machine has done its job all the contractor then needs to do is just add tar.’
The wheelbase of the £145,000 vehicle is compact enough for it to easily operate in a single carriageway, and, due to the high operator position, the individual operating the machine can see all four wheels – this reduces the risk to passing pedestrians or other highways workers.
The PotholePro has been used in trials across Stoke-On-Trent for months and found to rapidly speed-up the process of fixing cratered roads
The single vehicle has the capability to perform pothole repairs usually carried out by three separate machines, the maker says
By fitting one vehicle with all the required attachments to complete a full pothole repair, JCB says it will cut repair costs, time and the emissions impact of using various machines
The first part of the process uses the 600mm-wide ‘planer’, which is made-up of rotating teeth that mill away the ground to a depth set by the operator. This creates a level cut that gives the pothole structure. Without this, if you were to try to put tar straight in the hole, the repair would not last a month, say road maintenance experts.
The PotholePro’s multi-tool also includes both the sweeper and cropping tool. It can rotate in any direction which makes it perfect to work around ironworks.
The 360-degree cropping tool squares off the edges of the pothole. Normally, this process is done by a jack hammer or circular saw and in is linked to causing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome among those who operate them. With the JCB PotholePro, it completely eliminates this risk.
The next phase utilises the ‘sweeper’, which can either rotate and collect the material or the brush lifts up out of the way to leave a bucket to scoop large volumes of chippings at once.
All the material collected can then easily be dumped into a support truck for recycling.
Step one: The ‘planer’ is the first process in the repair. Rotating teeth mill away the ground to a depth set by the operator. It creates a level cut that gives the pothole structure
Step two: The 360-degree cropping tool squares off the edges of the pothole. Normally, this process is done by a jack hammer or circular saw and this is linked to causing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome among those who operate them. With the JCB PotholePro, it completely eliminates this risk
Step three: The next phase utilises the ‘sweeper’, which can either rotate and collect the material, or the brush lifts it up out of the way, to leave a bucket to scoop large volumes of chippings at once. All the material collected can then easily be dumped into a support truck for recycling
Step four: Once the machine has done its job all the contractor then needs to do is just add tar to remove the sign of there ever being a pothole
Tests with local authorities and contractors have already shown that the JCB PotholePro can complete a pothole repair in less than eight minutes – the equivalent of fixing 700 potholes a month.
It also has a 25mph top speed, meaning the vehicle can travel up and down roads under its own power, also reducing transport costs for operators.
The machine has been used in trials on roads in Stoke-on-Trent for months and the city council has worked with JCB over the last 12 months as innovation partners to develop the PotholePro.
In initial testing, the machine completed 51 road repair jobs in 20 days, which would have taken a team of up to six operatives 63 days to complete normally.
The worst and best areas in the UK for potholes – as Cornwall comes top with 210,311
The worst areas for potholes in the UK, in terms of the number reported to local councils, were as follows:
1. Cornwall – 210,311
2. Cambridgeshire – 184,402
3. Derbyshire – 172,297
4. Devon – 147,779
5. Oxfordshire – 110,106
6. East Riding of Yorkshire – 106,144
7. Durham – 99,630
8. Rotherham – 83,964
9. Hertfordshire – 72,230
10. Fife – 70,254
The least potholed roads in Britain, in terms of how many were reported over the last three years, were:
1. Kensington & Chelsea – 141
2. Isle of Anglesey – 290
3. Sunderland – 320
4. Rutland – 687
5. Portsmouth – 811
6. Bexley – 882
7. Hammersmith & Fulham – 1,283
8. Haringey – 1,451
9. Lambeth – 1,607
10. Bracknell Forest – 1,706
Councillor Daniel Jellyman, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, said he had seen a 700 per cent increase in productivity.
He said: ‘Potholes are a nuisance to motorists up and down the country and we’ve worked closely with JCB to come up with a solution to what is a national problem.
‘In a time when every penny and pound counts for local authorities, we’re delighted to be at the forefront of developing and trialling new technologies and ways of working, especially ones which could save residents money.’
The vehicle’s release follows a vow from Chancellor Rishi Sunak last November to invest £1.6billion to fix potholes in Britain and ‘level-up’ uneven roads.
Experts have warned that the cost to repair every pothole on our streets will cost far more than that.
Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn 2020 Spending Review, the Asphalt Industry Alliance said an additional £15billion funding was required over the next decade to repair all potholes on local roads alone.
In initial trials in Stoke-on-Trent, the machine completed 51 road repair jobs in 20 days, which would have taken a team of up to six operatives 63 days to complete normally
The vehicle’s release follows a vow from Chancellor Rishi Sunak last November to invest £1.6billion to fix potholes in Britain and ‘level-up’ uneven roads
Councils are inundated with pothole complaints every 46 seconds and more than £8.1 million was paid out in compensation to drivers last year for vehicle damage caused by the craters in the road
Rick Green, chair of the AIA, said: ‘While these spending commitments are welcome in these challenging times, we are aware that the sums outlined will not be enough to plug the existing multi-billion pound backlog in road maintenance funding and so our ageing network will continue to decline.
‘What’s needed going forward is an additional investment of £1.5 billion a year for 10 years, to improve the experience of all road users, support recovery and deliver a much-needed boost to the economy.’
Councils have been estimated to receive a request to fix a pothole every 46 seconds and more than £8.1 million was paid out in compensation to drivers last year for vehicle damage caused by potholes.
AA President Edmund King OBE said: ‘The toll of pothole damage on cars is already breathtaking. However, as more people take up cycling due to avoiding public transport in the pandemic and if e-scooters are legalised, then sorting our poor road surfaces becomes more important than ever.
‘JCB has taken the initiative to fix these problems, and we’re excited to see its new PotholePro take to the streets.’
Britain’s drivers hit by pothole menace even harder in 2020 despite traffic plummeting due to Covid
BY JACK WRIGHT FOR MAILONLINE
More British motorists complained about potholes damaging their cars in 2020 as poorly-maintained local roads continue to cause drivers misery, according to latest research.
A large study by the RAC published in December showed that 38 per cent of drivers listed the terrible state of council-maintained roads as their biggest concern, up from 33 per cent last year.
Some 52 per cent of 3,068 drivers surveyed said road conditions are worse than 12 months ago, as separate data shows there were nearly 1,900 call-outs between July and September this year for for damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels.
This is despite a huge decline in the number of vehicles using UK roads during the coronavirus pandemic, with traffic falling to just 23 per cent of pre-lockdown levels at one point.
The motoring company said that it was likely that councils were ‘unable to keep up maintenance programmes as the pandemic took hold, perhaps due to staffing issues’.
It also said the annual survey called into question the Government’s pledge to fix ‘nuisance’ potholes that are menacing drivers.
The RAC called for an extra 2p a litre from fuel duty to be ring-fenced for local road repairs, saying this would raise £4.7billion over five years on top of the £2.5billion already pledged for road repairs in England.