Scottish Borders Council trials exciting new pothole-fixing machinery

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After a wet winter, the problem of potholes is worse on the region’s roads than ever, but Scottish Borders Council has been looking at innovative new technology to repair them.

The PotholePro, launched by JCB in January, claims to do the work of three machines, cutting the road, clearing out the detritus and preparing the hole for filling.

What’s more, it’s quick, doing the job in just eight minutes … and it cuts the average cost per pothole from £60 to £30. And as the machine does the job of a jackhammer, it also means the repetitive strain injuries roadworkers can suffer from could be a thing of the past.

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The Southern went to see the machine in action on the A699 between St Boswells and Selkirk on Friday, and the £170,000 machine is as impressive as it sounds.

Councillor Gordon Edgar with the new JCB Pothole ProCouncillor Gordon Edgar with the new JCB Pothole Pro
Councillor Gordon Edgar with the new JCB Pothole Pro

JCB’s Ben Rawding said: “The machine can fix tiny potholes right up to big defects. It can fix four times the potholes at half the cost.

"We are taking them round councils, giving them the tools to make sure their potholes are repaired quicker, more cost-effectively and permanently.

"We believe it would pay for itself within a few months.”

Given these figures, you might expect the council to buy a small fleet of them, but that’s not on the cards just yet.

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Watching the machine in action was Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council's executive member for infrastructure, transport and travel.

He said: “JCB has come up with this innovative machine, based on reports from road workers.

"We’re getting a demonstration over the next two days, and hopefully it will allow us to check out the capability of the machine and see if it would work well with the teams we have in the roads department.

"What we have to do is assess what sort of team would be needed to run it.

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“I had a thought in my head that we could maybe hire one for a wee while and trial it in different areas.

"It’s quite an expensive piece of kit and we would have to make sure it saved money.

"But if we are going forward with the machine, we would buy one ourselves.

"It is a way we can address the pothole situation, with repairs lasting hopefully three to five years.”