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."

Python 5000

This Python 5000 pothole patcher will be ready for action once Thunder Bay city staff are trained to use it. (Brian Kral)

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.