February 21, 2019 12:57 pm
Updated: February 21, 2019 1:12 pm

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

WATCH ABOVE: Temperatures continue to rise and fall in Toronto, causing a lot of road damage in the city and thousands of potholes. Erica Vella explains how potholes are formed and what you can do if they damage your vehicle.


Temperatures continue to rise and fall in Toronto, causing a lot of road damage in the city and thousands of potholes.

So far in 2019, more than 12,165 potholes have been repaired by the city and it costs approximately $25 to fix each one.

“The freeze thaw cycle is a perfect recipe for potholes,” said Mark Mills, superintendent of road operations with the city.

“Potholes are created when water penetrates the top layer of asphalt through cracks in the road. After that moisture freezes, it expands and when it melts, it leaves a void. When cars drive over that void, it breaks up the asphalt and creates a pothole.”

WATCH: Chief Meteorologist Anthony Farnell breaks down the difference between the two terms sleet and freezing rain.

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Mills said on a typical day the city has approximately 25 crews repairing potholes, but in the coming days, they are planning a pothole blitz.

“We are going to have a pothole blitz, where we will have approximately 55 crews that day for 12 hours to catch up on some of the pothole repairs,” he said.

“We haven’t seen an increase in service requests yet but I think the worst is yet to come … We are slowly getting into pothole season and with all these freeze and thaw events that we’ve had, we think we will be right in the middle of it starting this weekend.”

READ MORE: City crews to conduct pothole blitz in Toronto this weekend

Mills said if you see a pothole call 311 and the city should be by in about four days to repair it.

“Some of the issues that we deal with, the same people who are salting and plowing the roads are the same people who fill potholes,” he said.

Mills said the city spends about $171 million on road repairs annually to rehabilitate roadways and approximately $4 million to $5 million is budgeted to fix potholes.

A pothole is seen on The Donway West in Toronto Thursday morning.

Mark Trueman/Global News

How to make a claim

If a vehicle is damaged because of a pothole, a claim can be made against the city.

According to the website, people making a claim must submit a claim letter to the city clerk office and it needs to be done within 10 days of the incident happening.

The claim letter must include the date, time and location of the incident and details around how the damage happened.

If anyone witnessed the damage, the city recommends adding the name and contact information in the letter.

READ MORE: Do you have pothole damage? You could get compensation from the city

Finally, the city said the claim letter must include why the city is responsible for the damage.

Include all documents that support the claim – receipts, estimates and pictures – and submit the documents, along with the letter, to the city clerk through email, mail or fax.

Once a claim is made, you will be assigned an adjuster who will decide if the city was responsible for the damage caused by the potholes. This process could take about 90 days.

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

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