We’ve all seen them and many Metro Vancouver motorists have felt the pain first hand. Persistent potholes have been eating up South Coast roads for months and in the city of Vancouver, it’s driving up the number of complaints.
More and more motorists are reporting the deep dents and bumps in the road through calls to 311, emails, Twitter and the mobile app VanConnect. From January to April 19, 2017, Vancouver received 3,527 pothole complaints, compared to 2,301 in 2016 and 1,641 in 2015. That means that in just the first four months of this year, the city has seen more than double the number, or 115 per cent more complaints than it received in all of 2015.
According to City of Vancouver spokesperson Jag Sandhu, the spike in pothole complaints “can be attributed in part to more people using VanConnect and also the frequent freezing and thawing pattern we saw this winter season.”
Fifty per cent of this year’s pothole complaints have been reported through VanConnect compared to just 7.5 per cent of the total when the app was launched in 2015, and paving experts agree the harsh winter left city streets littered with potholes.
“Like the weather, it’s probably been one of the worst years on record for our potholes. I mean we’ve had extremes of weather, you know, huge dumps of snow on the ground then there were thaws and then more snow,” said Bernard Jones of IPR Vancouver Blacktop & Concrete Repair.
Repeat that wicked weather cycle seven or eight times and you have a recipe for road hazards. Crews trying to patch up the problem have been repeatedly delayed by unrelenting and record rain. “We’re just praying that it doesn’t rain anymore,” said Jones.
The city of Vancouver repairs an average of 32,000 potholes each year and according to Sandhu, the vast majority of this year’s 3,500 plus complaints have been filled with a “handful still in the queue.”