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Dig this pothole buster! How JCB’s £200,000 giant digger repairs road craters in just EIGHT minutes


Dig this pothole buster! How JCB’s £200,000 giant digger repairs road craters in just EIGHT minutes

Dig this pothole buster! How JCB’s £200,000 giant digger repairs road craters in just EIGHT minutes – as more than half of councils in Britain are expected to invest in the 13-tonne machine

The target has been identified – an oval pothole about four feet from the kerb on a residential street. It is not much larger than the lid of a dustbin.

Yet, like so many other blemishes in our pitted roads, it could cost a motorist thousands of pounds in repair bills – or a cyclist their life.

Fortunately, a potential solution to the pothole plague has come in the form of 13 tons of JCB machinery.

At £200,000, JCB’s Pothole Pro may seem like a pricey way of repairing a few holes in the road. 

But, while traditional jackhammer repairs can take half a day, the Pothole Pro cuts away the damaged road surface, before cropping the edges of the cavity and cleaning it, within eight minutes. 

Filled in: The last stage requires traditional skills

Sharp edge: Pothole Pro straightens the sides of the scraped-out hole

Sharp edge: Pothole Pro straightens the sides of the scraped-out hole

Tell us about the worst potholes near you and we might FIX IT FOR FREE!


Daily Mail,MailOnline and This is Money readers can send pictures of the worst potholes near where they live and you will be automatically entered into the draw to have it permanently removed for free.

When a winner is chosen, JCB will send its crater-fixing PotholePro machine to repair it.

Send an email to [email protected] following the five steps below:

1. Send an email with the subject heading ‘POTHOLE’.

2. Please attach an image no bigger than 2MB of the pothole.

3. Include a brief description of the pothole and just how bad you think it is.

4. Tell us its whereabouts, including the road name and closest city, town or village.

5. Include your full name and a telephone number in case we need to contact you to find out further details about the pothole you’ve nominated – and potentially fix it.

We will choose a selection of the worst potholes you’ve nominated and put it to a reader vote on which one should be repaired by JCB’s PotholePro free of charge.

Personal details will not be shared with any third parties. 

> Find out more about the JCB PotholePro and how it could fix a road near you 

A crew of four workmen can then fill the hole – and the whole process is completed within half an hour.

I spent a chilly morning in Stoke-on-Trent to find out exactly how it works. 

Grabbing two yellow handlebars at the side of the vehicle, I hauled myself up three feet into the cabin.

The business end of the machine can rotate – enabling it tackle several potholes without having to move. 

The Pothole Pro’s 52 tungsten-tipped teeth grind out the pothole to leave a neat, square pit.

Fragments of road surface are swept up for recycling and the machine’s yellow arm then runs back over the crater twice – brushing it and spraying a thin layer of water to suppress dust.

Next, it’s the ‘cropping’ process. It is crucial to make sure the sides of the crater are square and straight, or the new road surface may not hold. 

Gaps will lead to the pothole forming again.

For this task, a 400mm Hardox steel blade emerges from the extendable arm, attacking the road surface with 30 tons of pressure. 

Another sweep and the cleanly cut pit is ready to be filled with 140C tar by workmen.

The process takes less than half an hour and leaves a neat rectangular patch.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council was the first local authority to buy a Pothole Pro back in November 2021 and since then it says it has cleared seven years of road defects in 12 months.

The machines are said to fill up to 50 potholes a day, but Ben Rawding, JCB’s Pothole Pro general manager, tells me his record is 80. 

He said: ‘I’ve had people come over and say, “We’ve got one that needs being done, can you come over here”.’

Targeted: The hole is marked out

Targeted: The hole is marked out

Whole again: The Mail¿s Fiona Parker and the filled pothole

Whole again: The Mail’s Fiona Parker and the filled pothole

JCB hopes more than half of councils will be using a Pothole Pro – either renting or buying – by the end of the year. 

One council told the firm it reduced its pothole remove costs from £60 a crater on average to £30 – due to the reduced time and labour costs.

The Daily Mail is campaigning for an end to the UK’s pothole plague, which is costing drivers millions of pounds in repairs while putting cyclists at risk of injury or death.

The latest figures released last year by the Asphalt Industry Alliance suggest councils would need an extra £12billion and nine-years to tackle the current road repairs backlog. At least there now one less pothole to worry about.

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