Ontario Construction News staff writer
The City of Ottawa is test-driving a new $400,000 machine to automate one of the biggest challenges of road construction and maintenance – potholes.
The city is trying out two Python 5000 machines this spring and summer and demonstrated one of them to the news media. The machine looks like a small street sweeper. It has a mechanical comb down the front, blows air to clean out the pothole, and then fills it with asphalt and rolls it down.
The idea is to see if the machine can reliably and economically speed up the process, traditionally handled by roads crews with shovels, a small dump truck filled with asphalt an traffic cones, and hand rollers.
Ottawa mayor Jim Watson observed one of the machines in action on Monday with Coun. Stephen Blais, who chairs the city’s transportation committee.
“This is very impressive,” Watson said. “We are trying this equipment out to see if it can help our existing employees do the job faster and get more potholes filled.”
“We have far too many potholes in the city,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of really bad winters and as a result, we’ve ha this freeze and thaw where the water seeps into the pavement and expands when it freezes.”
The city recently increased its budget for asphalt repair from $1 million to $9 million, but anyone who uses Ottawa’s streets knows the city has a ways to go to bring its spring pothole problem under control.