Louth County Council has become the first local authority in Ireland to introduce a new pothole fixing machine, which will halve the cost of current repair work being used by councils across the country.

The machine, which was manufactured by JCB, is operational across the UK and can cover up to 250 square metres a day or up to 700 potholes a month.

The machine works by cutting, planing and sweeping the road before filling defects with hot asphalt, which is more long lasting.

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It is designed to operate in congested urban areas and a faster repair time means less disruption as roads will be closed for shorter periods.

"Basically it integrates about four processes in one machine," Louth County Council Senior Engineer Mark Johnston explained.

"It cuts the hole first of all with the grinder, it crops the hole with a large chisel and then it cleans the hole with a large brush and lifts all that mechanically into the back of a lorry," he said.

"Typically, a pothole would take an hour or maybe hour and 10 [minutes] to fix and we're looking to cut that time right down with this machine," he added.

The machine has been in operation in the UK for a year with Stoke-on-Trent city council being the first to invest in the Pothole Pro machine.

In just four months it repaired 10,000 square metres of pothole-riddled road surface which is the equivalent in size to eight Olympic swimming pools and which would normally take three years to complete.

In addition to providing a more efficient solution, the automated nature of the machine reduces safety risks to operators often posed by manual power tools.

"It makes the process a lot safer, it makes the work a lot easier as it takes away a lot of the back breaking work, the jack hammering and hard work" said Mr Johnston.

The JCB Pothole Pro has been part-funded by the Department of Transport.

"This is a prototype machine so there's only one of it in the country at the moment" said Mark Johnston, Senior Engineer at Louth County Council.

"Louth has its share of potholes and we’ll be working through these over the coming months" he added.