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Suffolk Highways says new pothole repairing machine ‘the Dragon Patcher’ will mean more defects repaired on rural roads





The county’s highway authority has welcomed a new pothole-repairing machine called ‘the Dragon Patcher’ to help fix the growing number of defects.

Suffolk Highways is trialling the new technology - initially in rural Suffolk - which it says will enable potholes to be repaired ‘five times faster’ compared to the traditional approach.

The Dragon Patcher is a machine that releases compressed air that cleans the surface of the road, before heating the surface to a temperature that enables repair material to bond effectively with the road surface, allowing the pothole to be repaired with an aggregate and hot bitumen material.

The Dragon Patcher in Ashfield Road, Norton. Compared with the traditional approach of repairing potholes, the Dragon Patcher can work five times faster. Picture: Suffolk County Council
The Dragon Patcher in Ashfield Road, Norton. Compared with the traditional approach of repairing potholes, the Dragon Patcher can work five times faster. Picture: Suffolk County Council
Suffolk Highways has welcomed the new pothole-repairing machine to help fix the growing number of potholes experienced nationally during the winter season, with a trial set to initially target defects in rural Suffolk. Picture: Suffolk County Council
Suffolk Highways has welcomed the new pothole-repairing machine to help fix the growing number of potholes experienced nationally during the winter season, with a trial set to initially target defects in rural Suffolk. Picture: Suffolk County Council

This trial is in addition to the potholes being repaired around the clock as part of Suffolk Highways’ routine repair programme.

During the past two months Suffolk Highways has repaired 2,851 potholes across the county.

Fuelled by the biodiesel, HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil), the patcher reduces raw material use and creates zero waste and has shown to provide significant carbon savings when compared to traditional patching techniques.

The Dragon Patcher in Ashfield Road, Norton. Picture: Suffolk County Council
The Dragon Patcher in Ashfield Road, Norton. Picture: Suffolk County Council

Cllr Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Ipswich, operational highways and flooding, said: “The recent cold and wet weather has expectedly brought a huge spike in the number of potholes appearing across our roads and we are working around the clock to tackle the current levels we are seeing.

“The arrival of the Dragon Patcher in Suffolk will help bolster our efforts in getting these defects repaired, especially focusing on rural roads where we can repair higher numbers, in a fraction of the time.

“This new piece of kit is one way in which our new highways contract strives to provide better value for Suffolk’s taxpayers and works to reduce impact on the environment.”

Once the trial ends, a decision will be taken on whether to roll out the technology across the county.