‘Dragon patchers’ set to be let loose on East Devon’s roads

Dragon patcher. Picture: Hampshire County Council

Dragon patcher. Picture: Hampshire County Council - Credit: Hampshire County Council

More ‘fire-breathing dragons’ are set to be let loose on East Devon’s roads in a bid to hunt down potholes.

The Dragon Patcher - so called because it uses flames to dry out potholes in cold or wet weather - also cleans the surface with compressed air and seals the pothole with a stone mix and hot bitumen emulsion.

It has been trialled in the county over the last year, and its success in repairing potholes means that Devon County Council is looking into ordering more of them.

One was initially ordered but over the summer period a second machine was mobilised to take advantage of the better weather.

Cllr Ray Radford at Tuesday's Corporate, Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Scrutiny Committee asked how successful the trial of using the Dragon Patcher has been.

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Meg Booth, chief officer for highways, infrastructure development and waste, said the trial has been a sufficient success that they are set to consider ordering more.

She said: "We have decided to invest in more Dragon Patchers.

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"We are looking at it as a way of resolving the issues on the minor road network.

Mrs Booth said the county council has trialled the Dragon Patcher machines and have compared its price to that of 'reactive repairs'.

She said: "Some roads had considerable amount of defects prior to it, and 12 months later, very few reports of potholes, and those are not related to the work of the Dragon Patcher.

"The tests have been good and it is early days yet, but it has been sufficiently good enough for us to consider ordering more."

According to Mrs Booth, primarily they will tackle the minor road network, but they want to trial it on the more major road, to see how it fares.

Her report to the meeting added that as a result of the wet weather since August, there has been a steady increase in reported potholes, up to 3,395 in December.

She added: "We continue to work with Skanska to prioritise resources to reduce the risk to the travelling public, but despite the current difficulties the number of potholes recorded in 2019 were a third less than recorded in 2018."

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