April 3, 2014 2:59 pm
Updated: April 4, 2014 8:00 pm

Pothole season expensive for some Fredericton drivers


FREDERICTON – The snow and ice has melted along Fredericton roads, unveiling some deep potholes. And the potholes are slowing down traffic across the city.

One hole, on Regent and Charlotte Street, has been the source of at least nine tire changes in the two days, says AA Towing.

“The past 36 hours, we’ve done 21 tire problems, issues, towing, breaking the bumper. You know, these small cars right now, they don’t last on these potholes,” said John Carter, a tow truck driver.

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Carter said this winter has been the worst he’s seen for accidents in the past six years. And drivers are paying the price.

Ashlee Espenell hit a Regent Street pothole Tuesday night.

“I’m driving along, and all of a sudden it’s just this huge bang! I hear the clank, I can feel the undercarriage hit the ground, and my first thought was ‘oh my gosh, I hope my tire’s okay!'”

Unfortunately, Espenell’s tire was blown, and the wheel cover popped off. Espenell’s warranty covered some of the cost, but she still has to pay for a new hubcap, and get her car inspected.

“I was fortunate in that it was just my tire. I know it was a real concern that it could have been the undercarriage; it could have ruined the alignment,” she said. “So I got off lucky I would say in this, but I’m sure other people have been less fortunate than me.”

Once the ground thaws, crews will work on long-term paving projects. But right now, they’re trying to keep up with priority roads, like Regent Street, with a temporary solution, called cold patching. However, keeping up with the holes is a problem every spring.

“The materials we use right now, they are a temporary fix. Sometimes they will last throughout the winter, sometimes they don’t,” said Mike Walker, Acting Manager of roads and streets for Fredericton. “This year we are seeing potholes probably in areas where we maybe haven’t in the past few years, so people might be noticing them more, but we do see potholes every year.”

The solution is for drivers to slow down and watch the road. But some drivers say the city has a responsibility to keep on top of the streets.

“Roads shouldn’t break your car,” said Espenell. “No matter what the budget is, the fact is if people need to drive around on the streets in the city, they sort of have an obligation to make sure they’re not damaging personal property.”

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