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Fire-breathing Dragon Patcher has potholes licked, says county council

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A 'dragon patcher' shows its pothole-fixing flame
A 'dragon patcher' shows its pothole-fixing flame

THE first of two new fire-breathing "dragon patcher" road repair machines has arrived for speedy mending of Hampshire highways damaged by the winter weather.

The county council has bought two of the mobile units at around £250,000 each, with the second due for delivery before Easter.

Cllr Rob Humby, HCC cabinet member for environment and transport, said the special trucks can be quickly deployed anywhere in the county.

He said: “The vehicles are quick and efficient as they can permanently repair a road defect five times faster than traditional methods in all weathers and without the need for coning off the area of road being worked on.”

The councillor said that the new machine was not involved in the faulty road patching in New Milton earlier this year that, as reported in the A&T, brought an outcry from residents and an apology from the council.

He said: “The previously reported issue in Gainsborough Avenue is still being investigated, but initial findings indicate this was a rare operational fault with an older patching machine which is in the process of being rectified.”

Of the new Dragon Patchers, he said: “We are continually exploring ways we can get the most for our money and looking for new innovations and developments to help us get the job done on the highways network efficiently, thoroughly and with as little disruption as possible.

“I’m really pleased the county council was able to put in extra money to match the government’s pothole funding allocation for councils earlier this year, and we were able to buy two Dragon Patchers dedicated to Hampshire.

“The recent snow and ice caused a lot of extra damage to the road network, and the winter is certainly not over yet. Frost, ice and snow all damage roads, but I’m confident the Dragon Patchers will quickly start to make a difference where it’s needed.”

The fire-breathing Dragon Patcher is effective in all weathers as it expels flames to de-ice and dry out the road surface which is then cleaned with compressed air and sealed with a stone mix and hot bitumen emulsion.

With the surface repair completed in as little as two minutes, it can move on to the next repair.

The whole operation, which is done by one person working from the lorry cab, takes just a few minutes, and the road is ready for traffic immediately afterwards.

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