Urban Transport

Python 5000 patches potholes in minutes

Python 5000 patches potholes i...
The Python 5000's single operator can quickly fill potholes from within the vehicle's cab
The Python 5000's single operator can quickly fill potholes from within the vehicle's cab
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The Python 5000's single operator can quickly fill potholes from within the vehicle's cab
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The Python 5000's single operator can quickly fill potholes from within the vehicle's cab
The Python 5000 uses either hot or cold mix asphalt
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The Python 5000 uses either hot or cold mix asphalt
The Python 5000 can patch a two-foot pothole within about two minutes
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The Python 5000 can patch a two-foot pothole within about two minutes

Nobody likes potholes, but it often seems that they’re one of those hardships we just have to put up with until they get almost impassable ... after all, it’s a big deal to send out a road crew who will have to block one or two lanes of traffic for half an hour or more, while they risk being struck by inattentive drivers. Apparently, however, pothole-filling needn’t be such an involved process. Cities now have the option of using the Python 5000, which is a vehicle that is operated by one person from inside its cab, and that can patch a two-foot (0.6-meter) pothole in about two minutes.

To use the Python, its driver/operator starts by filling its rear 5-ton (4.5-tonne) hopper with either hot or cold-mix asphalt. It can then be driven at highway speeds, to the pothole in question.

Once there, the driver needs to block only the lane that the pothole is in, as they won’t be working outside of the vehicle themselves. Instead, they use a joystick to maneuver its extending, pivoting front working arm until it’s directly over the pothole, then apply a jet of compressed air to blast out any dirt, loose asphalt, water or other contaminants within the hole.

Next, they apply a layer of emulsive tack oil to the hole’s interior surface – this helps the new asphalt to adhere. A conveyor belt running from the hopper up through the arm then delivers fresh asphalt into the hole. That asphalt is kept at the desired working temperature while in the hopper, using heat from the vehicle’s engine exhaust. A rake and a roller attached to the arm are subsequently used to push the asphalt into place, and then press it down into a smooth finished patch.

The Python 5000 can patch a two-foot pothole within about two minutes
The Python 5000 can patch a two-foot pothole within about two minutes

According to the manufacturer, Saskatchewan-based Python Manufacturing Inc., patches made by the vehicle are equal in quality to the original road surface, and should last at least as long as those made by traditional road crews. In fact, they should last longer than patches made using the so-called “throw-and-go” method, in which asphalt is simply shoveled into a pothole that hasn’t been cleaned out or prepared first. The vehicle's hole-filling method is reportedly effective even at temperatures down to -40ºC/F, and allows a single user to patch approximately three times as many potholes as a multi-person crew could manage in one day.

The Python 5000 has actually been around for a few years, although it has recently garnered some new attention, as it is currently being tried out by the City of New York. If that trial goes well, other cities could follow suit.

Source: Python Manufacturing Inc. via Gizmodo

15 comments
Snake Oil Baron
Now there is a good idea.
Bill Bennett
saw the interview with the inventor elsewhere his presentation was ah, ah, the machine seems like an improvement over five people standing around doing nothing that we usually see here in Oregon
oldguy
Northampton, Massachusetts really needs this machine!
Richardf
marvelous idea
Alex Lekander
We need these in Tucson!
Derek Howe
my city has had something similar for a couple years now...and its a POS. Its temporary fills last only a couple months before they break, and the pothole is back. Our city just uses it as a way to make the roads temporarily better until a road crew can come and do it the proper way. Which is to use a concrete saw and cut out the bad portion, remove all the debris, place rebar in it, and fill the hole full of concrete.
Douglas Renfro
I imagine it would seem to be a POS if it were filling potholes in concrete with asphalt. It's pothole season here in Alaska, might be worth trying. Doubt it would beat our two man teams though.
agulesin
I'm not a Luddite but this looks like another cause of unemployment... what will the people who've been laid off because the council bought a few of these do to fill their time? I suppose they could be employed to maintain the vehicles! And the removal of loose material by compressed air seems a bit risky as flying stones would make nice dents on passing vehicles/pedestrians.
2640-3690
Send a couple of thousand to Australia. We could keep them going for years. We also need bigger ones that can fill in holes 3 and 4 times bigger. Some newer freeway and tollways have potholes and they are less than 10 years old. Actually we need better built roads across the whole country.
myale
Perhaps a stpid question, but why not inject a stabiliser/adhesive into the hole first to impregnate the surrounding edge, which stabilisers the edge and provides adhesion of the new material. Tar, mrely provides an adhesion to the old edge surely with little or no penetration. Funny how I envisage a machine similar to what is used to repair the glass windscreens - clear debris from hole, cover hole and evacuate, impregnate with resin, fill hole with more resin or an injection moulding style fill, move to next hole. Perhaps when Plasticrete becomes reality or something.