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Pothole complaints up, repairs down because of weather: city


The freeze-thaw cycles and precipitation that made Edmonton roads a mess throughout the winter are now delaying pothole repair work, city officials say. 

In 2021, crews had filled about 29,000 potholes by this point in the year. In 2022, they've only fixed 12,000. 

That's 1,000 less than the city repaired in the first two weeks of March 2021 alone, when they fixed 13,000 potholes.

"But the available time to do the repairs on those roads, again without having any precipitation or ice or snow on that road, is about 50 per cent less," general supervisor of infrastructure maintenance Caitlin Zerebeski told media on Wednesday. 

As she explained it, crews can't work on potholes where there is snowpack on the road. And, pothole complaints ticked up earlier than usual thanks to a roller coaster of temperatures in the early new year. 

"The difference and the main difference for this year is just due to the extended freeze that we had and the large levels of precipitation. So January was an exceptionally snowy month. If we look at January 2021 in comparison, it was a very mild winter," Zerebeski said. 

She expects this is only the beginning of pothole season and noted her teams rely heavily on 311 complaints to identify the most dangerous hazards. 

Potholes form when water enters pavement, freezes and expands overnight, causing a cavity below the road surface, and vehicles are driven over the bubble. 

Mechanics across Edmonton are seeing a steady stream of broken rims and busted tires, including Mansoor Baber from 7 Days Auto.

"Every day we get maybe three or four customers."

Baber says a used rim costs customers about $150, but that's only if he can find one.

"There's no repair for them, so you have to only replace them. And you will be lucky if you get the used one and same design," Baber said.


As for blocked catch basins, crews have cleared roughly 5,800 from a total of 7,300 311 requests. There are more than 63,000 catch basins in total in Edmonton. 

Philip Herritt, director of infrastructure operations, said his teams were working to clear catch basins as quickly as possible so windrow melt has a way off the street. 

However, crews are no longer removing windrows, unless they pose an immediate safety concern. 

"As the weather changes, that will, I guess, determine how fast the windrows are removed. We will continue to focus on clearing the catch basins so as the melt happens, that water can be taken away as quickly as possible," Herritt said. 

He would not give any indication of whether his review of the city's piloted windrow removal program this season to council would be favourable or not. 

Complaints regarding roads and snow can be made by calling 311 or online. Claims regarding damage caused by a pothole can also be made online

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson Top Stories

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