Pothole season is upon us

Spring itself may still be a week or two away, but the snow is starting to melt and that means that the beginning of pothole season is officially upon us. I’ve already received a number of questions, comments and concerns about potholes, so I decided to check in with Public Works myself to see what is presently being done.

The response I received is that crews have been out patching potholes daily for the last two weeks and they’ll be continuing to do so. The challenge for the time being is trying to get as much water off the roads as possible, which is why snow removal is still happening overnight.

Because asphalt plants haven’t opened for the season yet, right now Public Works is recycling asphalt to use for patching potholes. They are recycling approximately 18,000 to 24,000 kilograms of asphalt per day (the amount varies due to weather)—which gives you a sense of how much work is underway already.

Potholes are unfortunately a fact of life for northern cities. And whether it’s a mid-sized one like ours or a metropolis like Chicago, the end of winter is a challenging time to keep up, as they just seem to appear everywhere you look. This winter has been especially difficult, because we’ve had alternating freezes and thaws happen several times, often with temperatures swinging from around -20 to +7 or +8 within the span of a few days, and that creates a lot of issues.

I understand it’s frustrating for drivers to have to contend with potholes at seemingly every turn. However, we have a hard-working team at Public Works that is doing their best to address the problem with the resources that are available to them. Once the snow is gone, the weather becomes warmer, and the asphalt plants open, it will be possible to make some more lasting progress.