EDMONTON -- City officials said Wednesday crews have already filled more than 16,000 potholes this year, 5,000 more than the number filled this time last year.

The roads department said it is working with roughly the same staffing and budget but is using a different strategy.

"There's a more dedicated customer service focus when it comes to the potholes," Caitlin Zerebeski told CTV News Edmonton.

The public can still report potholes through the 311 mobile app, or by calling 311, but now when crews respond they will also assess the area and fill any other additional potholes spotted nearby.

"We've seen a 300 per cent decrease in 311 notifications as of this year due to the proactive approach," said Zerebeski. "So for us, that's showing that by getting to them quicker and faster that we also make it so it's more satisfactory for the residents of Edmonton to use our roads."

The city said potholes are filled by priority based on their location and size.

Officials also said lighter traffic during the pandemic, coupled with a mild winter, have made road repairs easier.

That said, city crews acknowledge pothole season is just ramping up.

"Especially with the hot, cold and everything now, everything starts popping up," said foreman Red Young. "There's lots for us now."

In 2019, city crews filled about 325,000 potholes. That number rose to about half a million in 2020.

With files from CTV Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson