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Going high-tech in the war on potholes 07.02.11

Sutton Council has gone high-tech in the battle against potholes.

Dave Stares left and Nathan Kirk from contractors RJ Dance get to grips with the pothole buster

The authority is trialling a new infra-red 'Nu-Phalt' cooker which repairs roads more quickly with less waste. 

The new weapon produces a heat-sealed repair with a near seamless joint, with no ear-splitting drilling and no lengthy road closures.

The device, which is used to maintain Silverstone's Grand Prix circuit, means a typical one square metre repair can now be completed in just 20 minutes.

Cllr Simon Wales, Sutton's Executive Member for Communities, Highways and Voluntary Sector, said: "Our budget consultation has shown highway maintenance is a priority for our residents and we hope this device will have a major impact on our efforts to tackle the pothole situation."

Experts say the new pothole technology is faster, cheaper and safer than conventional digging and filling. It is also environmentally-friendly because it re-uses existing material in the road.

The heat-sealed repair makes it more difficult for water to seep back into the hole once the repair has been done and costs about the same as a traditional repair.

More than 1,200 potholes have been repaired in the borough in the last 12 months and the council is urging residents to report any potholes they see.

Potholes form when water on roads seeps into the surface and opens up cracks when it freezes and expands.

The process is repeated over and over again as ice and snow thaws and re-freezes during winter weather, cracking roads apart and leaving holes in their wake. 

New figures show an average of around 10 potholes dot every mile of road in England and Wales, and the total number will pass two million for the first time this year.

* Residents can report a pothole online at or ringing 020 8770 5070

Last updated: Tuesday, 08 March 2011

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