Dragon evolves as Oxfordshire takes the fixing fight on the road

Dragon no audio

Meet the latest pothole-blasting monster that is taking to Oxfordshire’s roads.

Oxfordshire County Council and their contractors, Skanska, have just added another new Dragon patching machine to its road fixing fleet.

The Dragon uses a combination of compressed air, heat, bitumen and chippings to repair holes. And this latest machine, which takes over from an on-loan vehicle, has been built to Oxfordshire's specification based on the experiences gained in recent years.

This means that there are now two Oxfordshire-owned machines working full-time in the county on its rural roads. A third machine is shared with Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

More fixes during the summer

During the summer months the Dragons work double shifts – 5am – 10pm – with crews swapping over half way through the extended day. This means that the most is made of the longer days and better conditions.

Because it can repair a number of problems at the same time, and much faster, it can carry out fixes far more cheaply than before. The Dragon Patcher can repair pot holes for as little as £9 (m2 repair) whereas one fixed using conventional methods on a non-rural road costs, on average, costs just above £60.

There are other benefits of this approach:

Due to the speed of the Dragon Patcher repair system it can fix the identified pot holes and at the same time repair minor surface defects surrounding it which would potentially form potholes in the future. This preventative maintenance approach reduces the number of re-visits to the same sites.

The Dragon Patcher is capable of both filling deep potholes and sealing the surface with a very thin layer of binder and stone. This allows the operator fill multiple single potholes in one area and then seal the whole area. This stops the water getting into the new repairs and protects the unrepaired sections of road giving a far more robust treatment and extending the life of that particular section of road.

County Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet member for Environment, said: “These machines make a massive impact on the condition of our roads and I’m delighted we have two fully dedicated to Oxfordshire on top of the third that we share with nearby councils.

"What's especially good about the latest Dragon is that the team have seen how the older ones work on our roads and been able to get the new one made exactly how they want it.

“On a good day a Dragon can repair up to 200 potholes and that, combined with the low road repair costs, means the investment is a sound one.

“The county council, like all councils responsible for roads, has a very limited budget and we have to look for innovative ways to get more value out of every pound we spend.”