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Fewer freeze-thaw cycles could mean less potholes

City of Kitchener crews have been out doing repairs since last week
Stock photo

It's that time of year again, pothole season.

But it doesn't appear to be as bad on area roads as in previous years, at least not yet.

"2019 in compared to other seasons, I would say this is not a heavy year for potholes, so far." Scott Berry, Manager of Operations (Roads and Traffic) for the City of Kitchener, told

Berry's crews started doing pothole repairs last week and they will have a "significant amount" of staff dedicated to those repairs each day.

A pothole forms when water gets into a crack in the pavement, then if it freezes it expands, creating a bigger crack.

Berry says a lot of freeze-thaw cycles would make for a very busy pothole season. "We had a cold winter and I'm glad, as most people are, that it's behind us. But we didn't have a lot of freeze-thaw cycles. Where it's below zero at night and above zero during the day. We're starting to get into that now, but I know in 2018 almost the entire month of February was a daily freeze-thaw cycle,"

The city has staff proactively looking for potholes, but residents can also phone their call centre at 519-741-2345 to report any issues.

Berry says at this time of year they consider it a temporary repair because they don't have access to hot asphalt. "You've got a lot of moisture in the holes, there's still frost in the ground and the hot asphalt really isn't available yet. Staff will go out, they make sure they have a good quality product. They'll remove old material from the hole, place new material in, compact it and move on to the next one."

Whether or not that repair takes depends on the level of moisture in the hole, which Berry adds can prevent a proper permanent bond.

He says they are typically able to repair potholes within 24 hours of it first being reported to them. "But what's happening is because of the temporary nature and may be because of a busy location, a lot of those potholes get blown out again and the temporary repair, being as it is, we need to go back on a regular basis ... We are getting to them, it's just that it's very difficult to do a permanent repair in the conditions that we have to work with in the spring time."

How can you avoid potholes? Berry offers the same advice he gives to his children, avoid the curb lane when it's raining. "Because roads are designed to shed water from the centre of the road and hold it in the gutter area until it runs to its drainage outlet,"

But you can also file a claim if you can prove a pothole damaged your vehicle. That information can be found here


Blair Adams

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