EDMONTON – We may still be in the depths of winter, but the numerous freeze and thaw cycles we’ve endured this season already have the City of Edmonton on pothole patrol.
“We filled almost 6,000 potholes in January and expect that, should weather trends continue, we’ll be dealing with conditions similar to what we experienced in 2013,” said Roadway Maintenance Director Bob Dunford.
In 2013, $7 million was spent on filling 750,000 Edmonton potholes. Dunford believes the situation may have been even worse had the city not invested an extra $21 million into road repair last year.
In 2014, the budget for pothole repairs is $5.9 million. And if there are no major snow events, additional crews will be assigned to pothole patrol.
“We’re not just interested in patching the problem, we’re interested in getting ahead of it,” stressed Mayor Don Iveson.
Iveson is asking the public to have patience, though, as he says it’ll take a few years for the city to catch up on the “backlog of work.”
As for how the problem will be fixed, if pothole-riddled roads are in good-enough shape, a “grind and pave” process will be used (which entails grinding a couple inches of pavement off the top and adding a fresh bed of pavement).
For the trouble spots that are worse off, more severe measures will have to be taken – just how much will be spent on that will be determined when the Capital budget is debated in the fall.
“A lot of our roads, we need to go all the way down to the base. We need to ensure that they’re draining properly. So they have to be reshaped so the water flows off them – and that’s going to be an expensive and time-consuming process,” Iveson explained.
“There’s going to be a lot of orange barriers in the city over the next four, five years – but it’ll be worth it.”
Residents are encouraged to report potholes either online or by calling 311.
“We do appreciate when people report the potholes,” said Dunford. “But we also are out patrolling the roads…we want to get those main roads first, and then onto the bus routes, and then into the local roads.”
With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News