Hamilton’s acting manager of road maintenance Peter Sniuolis says they’ve passed the 14,000-mark since the new year with many more to come now that the weather has made for prime pothole conditions on local roadways.
“The recent temperature fluctuations with the freeze cycles we’ve gotten, the heavy snow – that will cause our plows to open existing potholes,” said Sniuolis.
The 14,000 is more than the 10,000 Toronto’s mayor revealed have been filled in that city since the new year. “Pothole blitzes” are on the radar for the remainder of February and into March to expedite the growing issue in the GTA.
“Our staff at transportation services are well aware of this,” John Tory said in a media scrum.
“They keep a very close eye on it (but) they can’t begin the bigger blitzes that happen on the weekends until the weather has stabilized to some extent.”
Sniuolis says the nuisance forms on streets a couple of ways, with the most common being water seeping through cracks and expanding during freezing weather.
“Then when the temperature does rise and that water vacates, it does leave a void,” Sniuolis said.
The other issue is when a snowstorm arrives immediately after a crevasse is filled – plows clearing roads usually have a habit of reopening the holes.
He says additionally older streets fare worse, since many have cracks that transfer water to other areas creating additional problems.
Class 1 roads like the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, Red Hill Valley Parkway and Upper James are typically targeted by the city first on their priority list due to their constant use.
“A residential street, since it has a lower traffic volume, we have a little bit more time to wait to get in and repair those,” said Sniuolis. “The last three days, we probably had about 15 dedicated crews filling potholes to try to alleviate some of the concerns before they’re reported.”
The road manager says the problem varies year to year with as few as 35,000 pits being covered over 365 days, up to as many as 60,000.
Drivers whose car may have taken on damage via a pothole could potentially make a claim to the city, but Sniuolis says that is dependent on the size of the hole and the timeline in which it developed.
“If anybody does encounter damage, they’re encouraged to call 546-CITY(2489), as well … to report a pothole and they’ll be deferred to a risk department and they can take it from there,” he said.