Coming soon to a road near you in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire’s roads will soon resound to the sound of a dragon’s roar when the team responsible for fixing the county’s highways take delivery of a new pothole fixing machine.

After the successful introduction of the first machine in 2015, the county council’s highways contractor, Skanska, will soon put a new dragon to work on the county’s rural routes blazing a trail in the fight against holes in the roads.

The original machine was shared with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, but the new machine will be dedicated to Oxfordshire.

Breathing fire, stone and asphalt

It is nicknamed the ‘Dragon’ because it breathes fire to de-ice and dry out the road surface enabling to work all year round. The area is then cleaned with compressed air and sealed with a stone mix and hot bitumen emulsion. With the pothole gone in just two minutes, the patcher can move onto the next repair.

County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Cabinet member for Environment, said: “The dragon patcher is five times faster than traditional methods and can do more work for the money.

“It is also safer as it is operated from the vehicle’s cabin and we found that it was well suited to Oxfordshire’s rural roads. Since 2015, it has made 5,000 repairs to potholes and larger patches across Oxfordshire.”

Richard Lovewell, Operations Manager at Skanska, explained: “At Skanska we are always looking for innovative ways of working. An example of this was drawing on our global expertise to bring Sweden’s patching machine to the UK and help tackle the pothole problem for our customers.”

Thousands of miles, thousands of fixes

Last year, the pothole patching machine won the Highways Industry Project of the Year category, at the Highways Magazine Excellence Awards.

The original dragon patcher has been working hard over 2016 with great results:

  • 23,000 miles covered across Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire
  • 29,779 potholes fixed across Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire