City staff aren't too eager to unleash a Python on Prince George potholes.
In a report to council, transportation manager Al Clark outlines the benefits and disadvantages of the Python 5000 the city tried out this summer to repair local roads.
The one-person operated pothole patch truck was brought to the city in June and tested out on six areas of deteriorating asphalt around the city.
"The concept of a one-person operated patch truck is promising," Clark said in his report. "This method of patching potholes eliminates the physical labour required with the patch trucks the city currently owns."
But there were more cons than pros with the machine, according to Clark's report.
Among the disadvantages noted were that edges of the filled holes were raised, and could be caught by snowplows.
The machine is also said to be efficient with the limited product it carries on board. The Python can carry approximately three tonnes of patch and can place two tonnes in two hours. However, that limited capacity means more than one trip back to the asphalt plant per shift and would eliminate the ability to use the machine on night shifts.
The advantage of having a one-person unit is also lost since the machine creates enough of a mess blowing debris out of the pothole before it's filled that street sweeping equipment has to come behind it.
Though the transportation department is not recommending the city make the $250,000 investment in purchasing the machine, they will keep their eye on the developments for the potential of a future purchase, Clark said.
The truck was put on the Prince George radar after councillors caught sight of it at a Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Toronto two years ago.
The City of Saskatoon has previously owned a Python, but have since traded it in for a sweeper. During the planning stage of bringing the patcher to Prince George for the trial, city staff contacted Saskatoon.
"They were reluctant to share information on the performance of the Python, but did indicate they no longer had one in operation," Clark said. "They did indicate that they thought the Python was 'light duty' and required 'more engineering.'"
There are not any alternative patch trucks similar to the Python that the city is aware of, according to Clark.