Roads robot set to speed up pothole patching

The Roadmaster patcher

SHETLAND Islands Council has hired a special vehicle to tackle potholes and defects on single track roads without causing major disruption.

The Roadmaster ‘patcher’ loads up with chips and bitumen and can quickly repair small potholes with its robotic arm, without the need for road closures.

The council’s roads service is warning drivers to expect some short delays on single track roads when the vehicle completes a repair, before it moves on to the nearest passing place.

Team leader of asset and network Neil Hutcheson said: “We’ll be using the patcher vehicle this year for the first time and it’s a cost effective solution for some of our roads.”

The summer programme of surface dressing starts shortly and new materials will be tried out in response to the cold winter. It aims to improve skid resistance and seal surface cracks.

Road workers will be using smaller chips in some areas and trialling polymer modified bitumen, which has higher adhesion and more flexibility at lower temperatures.

Where surface dressing is taking place, vehicle drivers are being asked to reduce their speeds and to keep a safe distance from vehicles ahead.

Hutcheson added: “We’ll also be carrying out trials to improve the surface dressing method, which although we have used it successfully for many years, has suffered from slightly higher than normal chipping loss over this cold winter.

“This essential work is best suited to the summer months and we’d like to apologise in advance to any road users who experience any delays.”