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New Python 5000 helps city of Ottawa fill potholes faster

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With spring comes pothole season in Ottawa.

Frisby Tire store manager Norm Haggar says that this is the busiest time of year for damaged tire repair, with two or three customers a week coming in with pothole damage.

Hitting a pothole can cost a driver hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and some potholes can be more than jarring.

"If you hit a pothole, just pull over somewhere," Haggar says. "If it feels bad enough try to check the pressure if you can, or at least have a look at the tire. If you feel anything shaking and that doesn't feel right in the front end, just go to the nearest service station."

The city of Ottawa reports that staff have filled approximately 76,000 potholes so far this season, a 7 per cent decrease from the number of potholes filled in 2022. 

And now the city has a new tool to help get those potholes filled faster.

"This is a self-contained unit," says Bryden Denyes, the city's area manager for urban roads. "It does not require full traffic control setup. So we don't have to close lanes. It's a mobile operation, so it's really safe on those busy roads." 

It’s called the Python 5000 and it can fill a pothole in under two minutes. The machine can fill a maximum of nearly 200 potholes on one load of asphalt, depending on the size of the potholes.

The city currently has four of these units, which are contracted out to complement the city's current work during peak pothole season. 

"We use them for a couple of weeks in the early spring season after winter transition," Denyes says.

However, as fast as the Python 5000 can work, there are still many potholes that have yet to be filled. 

"People are more aware now that they need to be watching for potholes because they're out there, and everybody's hitting them," Haggar says. "So you need to be careful where you're driving. Keep an eye on the road and try to do as little damage as possible."

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