The long-awaited Python 5000 pothole machine will start working soon

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The City of Greater Sudbury’s Python 5000 arrived in November and is expected to begin operations by next week, weather permitting

A brand new addition to the city’s fleet is expected to begin filling Greater Sudbury’s potholes by next week, weather permitting.

“We want to get the most out of the python, and one of the best times of year to use it, when we have a significant amount of potholes, are the winter months,” said Director of Linear Services Brittany Hallam at Monday’s conference call. operations committee meeting.

The machine in question is the long-awaited Python 5000.

City Council approved a business case for the machine on March 11, 2021, and accepted a tender for approximately $555,000 on September 14. The machine arrived on November 21, which Hallam said was several months earlier than originally planned.

Since then, the machine has been prepared and the staff have undergone extensive training.

The machine, which will incur annual operating costs of approximately $200,000, is expected to apply an additional 592 metric tons of asphalt to local streets per year.

Python Manufacturing is based in Regina and provided Python 5000 machines to the City of Thunder Bay in 2017 at a cost of approximately $343,000 and to the City of Timmins in 2020 at a cost of approximately $564,000.

A traditional pothole repair operation requires three to five staff and multiple pieces of equipment to install four tons of asphalt a day, Hallam said.

The Python 5000 requires one staff member from start to finish in ideal conditions that don’t require traffic control and hauls five tons of asphalt. The manufacturer announces that the machines do three times more work than a team would do in the same amount of time.

The machine has long been talked about in council chambers as a way to extend the life of municipal roads, which have deteriorated in recent years due to underfunding.

In 2007, local roads – the least traveled streets in the city – had a pavement condition index of 63 (good), while busier collector roads had a rating of 68.1 (good) and busiest thoroughfares had a rating of 72.8 (very good).

The current pavement condition index for local roads is now 47 (fair), while that for arterials and collector roads is 53 (fair).

The Python 5000 will be used year round on Class 1-3 roads as they are maintained to clear pavement during the winter months, while Classes 4-6 are maintained for snow accumulation.

There may be weather restrictions, Hallam said, adding that they have been advised that the machine may not perform as it should in conditions below -10C, but those details will be worked out as they become available. as the city experiments with the machine.

The city’s 2022 budget document notes that approximately 80,000 potholes are repaired each year. Potholes can be called into town customer service at 311, where the street name, nearest address, and lane the pothole is in can be reported.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.

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