Python 5000 pothole patcher will be ready to hit Thunder Bay roads this month

The city's newest tool for road repairs will soon be in action in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Pothole-filling machine will reduce number of staff needed for repairs

The Python 5000 uses blown air to clean out holes in the pavement, before filling them with asphalt, raking the material and packing it down. (Brian Kral)

A new tool for road repairs will soon be in action in Thunder Bay, Ont.

An pothole patching machine, known as the Python 5000, arrived in the northwestern Ontario city this week and should be ready to hit the roads this month, said Brian Kral, a roads maintenance supervisor for the city.

The machine, which can carry about five tonnes of asphalt and can perform various tasks that would normally be done by a manual crew, will allow the city to cut down on the number of staff members needed to fill potholes, said Kral. 

"The primary feature of the machine is that it's a single operator unit for pothole patching, and that's different from what our manual process currently uses," he said.

"We usually have two men in a truck and a chase truck on the main roads, busy roads. So it drops to one operator rather than having three people involved in the operation."

Staff will begin training with the machine next week, said Kral, and it should be in operation by the week of Nov. 20. 

The Python 5000 is manufactured by a Saskatchewan company, and the cost is approximately $350,000.

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