Meet the Python 5000, Ottawa's newest weapon in the war on potholes
$400K machines could become permanent addition to city's road repair fleet
The City of Ottawa is trying out a new machine to put the squeeze on its deepening pothole problem.
The Python 5000, which resembles a small street sweeper with a mechanical comb attached to its front, blows air to clean out the pothole before spitting hot asphalt into it and rolling it flat, leaving a smooth black patch in its wake.
The machines cost about $400,000. Two of them will be deployed around the city in a pilot project this spring and summer.
Mayor Jim Watson and Coun. Stephen Blais, who chairs the city's transportation committee, observed one of the machines in action Monday.
"This was very impressive," Watson said. "We are trying this equipment out to see if it can help our existing employees do the job the faster and get more potholes filled."
"We have far too many potholes in the city," Watson said. "We've had a couple of really bad winters and as a result, we've had this freeze and thaw where the water seeps into the pavement and it expands when it freezes."
The city recently increased its budget for asphalt repair from $1 million to $9 million.
If the pilot is a success, the city could give the Python 5000 a full-time job, Watson said.