City officials say work to repair hundreds of potholes that have formed on Calgary streets is already underway, but there are fewer than normal this year due to the relatively warm winter.
Potholes form when the snow melts into cracks in the asphalt and then freezes, expanding the space beneath these cracks.
Speaking at a virtual news conference on Tuesday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said road crews are ahead of schedule this year and have already filled nearly 1,000 potholes.
“This was an interesting winter,” Nenshi said. “Not only was it a bit milder than normal, we didn’t get the number of freeze-thaw cycles that we normally get, which means, as it stands, there are way fewer potholes. We have way fewer reports of potholes on the 311 app.”
Aside from the weather, Nenshi said it’s likely there are fewer potholes being reported in part because of a change in traffic patterns due to COVID-19.
“The wear and tear on our roads has been less this year as people are staying home because of the pandemic.”
Work to repair potholes on city streets generally begins in April and continues through the summer.
“Repairs on wheels from potholes generally start at around $150. You see the real bad ones where you get damage to the front bumpers or blown-out struts,” said Lionel Millington with OK Tire, adding that he’s not seeing many clients for repairs yet.
City crews have the capacity to fill about 700 potholes a week, and this year, the city has budgeted $6.2 million for minor asphalt repairs including potholes.
Crews address potholes on a priority basis with issues on major roads completed first.
Troy McLeod, the director of the city’s roads department, said crews focus on fixing up busy thoroughfares during off-peak times, like in the evenings, and tend to minor roadway fixes during the day.
Though city crews try to be proactive when it comes to fixing cracks, potholes and sinkholes on major roads, Nenshi said they rely heavily on drivers reporting the problems on residential streets by calling 311 or using the city’s 311 app.
Potholes can also be reported through the City of Calgary’s website.