Wet weather holding up pothole repairs in Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: City crews are facing off against potholes in Edmonton this summer. But the recent rain has been holding them up. Julia Wong reports.

The soggy weather in Edmonton this summer is hindering pothole repair in the city.

Eduardo Sosa, director of roadway maintenance, said the city has received almost twice the precipitation it did last year and that is getting in the way of fixing unsightly and potentially damaging potholes on city streets.

READ MORE: New pothole-filling truck arrives in Edmonton

“We like to do potholes when the weather is dry, specifically because we want the repair to bond to the road structure,” he said.

“We can put a bonding agent and then asphalt on top so the repair will attach properly to the road structure.”

According to Environment Canada, there has been 59.6 mm of rain so far this summer. There was only 21.6 mm during the same period last year.

Sosa said if the repairs are done in wet conditions, crews will need to go back and redo the pothole fix at some point.

He said crews have addressed roughly 30 per cent fewer potholes than at the same time last year; 150,000 potholes were fixed by this time in 2018 while only 117,000 potholes have been fixed so far this year.

READ MORE: Rainfall warnings ended after downpour in Edmonton and west-central Alberta

However, he said crews expect to catch up soon thanks to more cooperative weather and more trucks to assist with pothole repair.

Scott Findlay, head technician at Off-Whyte Auto Repair, said between five and 10 vehicles come in every week because of potholes.

“Generally it’s a lot of tire repairs. The tire separates because the belt breaks from hitting a pothole,” he said.

“Vibration, occasionally rims and suspension parts get damaged also.”

Findlay said the number of damaged vehicles appears to be on par with years past.

His advice? Avoid them if you can.

“It’s not easy to say but be cautious where you’re driving,” he said.

Watch below (March 25): It’s pothole season in Edmonton. Sarah Kraus looks at how the freeze-thaw cycle is causing headaches for drivers. 

The potholes seem to be affecting many aspects of Julie Golosky’s life.

“They’re terrible for walking, running, driving, biking, you name it,” she said.

“Just trying to dodge them.

“When you’re driving and you’re trying to look out for pedestrians, street signs, the changing or different street speeds, you end up hitting one inevitably. It’s quite jarring,” she said.

Golosky, who is a jogger, said the potholes can also be distracting when she is out for a run.

“You can’t just go out and get into a mindful, enjoying head space. You’re always looking and navigating around,” she said.

READ MORE: Pothole season is here: Why do they happen and how to avoid them

She also is not sympathetic when told the city is behind in fixing potholes because of the wet weather.

“They can put a man on the moon. You’d think they would be able to solve that,” she said.

Sosa said crews have been putting temporary fixes in cases where there are safety issues or concerns over property damage.

“What we do is use cold mix, which is another type of material that actually requires us to go back and repair the pothole,” he said.

And he has these words for residents who are feeling frustrated about potholes.

“We prioritize our potholes based on traffic, size, location, so we are on it.

“If we haven’t been fixing this particular one because we’re fixing one that’s larger or bigger, just bear with us. We’re right on it.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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