Pothole problems are a major cause of traffic delays and also vehicle damage in many developed nations. In the UK, the use of old-fashioned repair methods make the problem worse, with an inefficient use of resources and high levels of waste.
Indeed, according to data compiled by one UK manufacturer of pothole patching equipment, each local authority in the country has an estimated average backlog of road repairs of £75.1 million. The total cost of road repairs required to the network in the UK will cost £12.6 billion and will take nine years to clear the backlog.
Potholes and road defects in general have resulted in 24 fatalities in the UK between 2009 and 2018. In addition, £8.9 million was paid out in compensation in 2021 for damage to vehicles caused by potholes.
Meanwhile, France used to have among the best maintained roads in Europe, a situation that has changed as road quality has declined in the country. An estimate suggests that France’s capital Paris had around 31,000 potholes in 2019. If the data is to be believed, the situation is being addressed at least with the city’s budget for road maintenance more than doubling from €14.8 million in 2018 to €33 million in 2022.
French firm Secmair is part of the Fayat Group and has also developed a novel machine that can deliver fast and efficient pothole patching. Called the Greenswift Sprayer-Gritter Blow Patcher, this truck-mounted unit has a three section arm located at the front of the vehicle. This offers a wide field of movement in front of, and to the sides of, the cab and is said to allow good visibility of the working area being repaired for the driver. Operation of the pothole filling unit is controlled by a multifunction joystick.
The firm says that this allows effective and precise control both of the material spraying and arm movement functions. A blower system can be used to blast loose material from the pothole, with the special mix then being sprayed into place afterwards. High productivity is claimed while the machine is also said to offer long lasting repairs. To further boost its versatility, the machine can also be used as a Synchronous Chipsealer and the firm claims that the unit can deliver high quality, highly accurate surfacing as well as localised preventative treatments.
The machine has been developed following Secmair’s extensive experience in the market for chipsealing equipment with its binder, sprayers and chip spreaders.
Other machines designed specifically to address pothole repairs include the Jetpatcher and Nuphalt system. The former is a proven system first developed in 1987 and with over 900 units sold and operated in more than 40 countries around the world. According to the Jetpatcher Corporation, the machine takes approximately two minutes to fix the average size pothole. Using the Jetpatcher, traffic can drive over the repair straight away and this is guaranteed to last a minimum of 12 months.
The firm claims that due to the speed and versatility of the machinery, the process has proved a cost effective solution with local authorities and municipalities. And as a result, customers have been able to increase the number of repairs they can carry out using limited budgets.
Also offered is the novel Nu-phalt Thermal Road Repair System from sister company Nu-phalt Group. This system meets the UK’s spec for standards for highways and the series 0900 Nu-phalt unit has obtained the BBA Hapas requirement for permanent road repairs.
According Nu-phalt, its Thermal Road Repair System has been proven to reduce costs by up to 40 per cent when compared to conventional pothole repair methods.