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Hamilton to reintroduce crack-sealing program as preventive maintenance for city roads

Hamilton is set to resurrect a crack filling program for damaged city roads. The move comes after a road audit in 2021 discovered the process had been stopped in recent years. City of Hamilton

Amid a severe pothole season on Hamilton’s thoroughfares, the city’s chief road official says staff are in the process of reintroducing “crack sealing” to it’s annual maintenance plan.

During a public works meeting this week, Edward Soldo told councillors that staff are developing a “more robust preservation strategy” for pavement on the heels of 2021 road asset report.

That study, from city auditor Charles Brown, revealed there was little evidence the preservation technique was being applied on urban roads to extend life.

“Once you have cracks in the road, you then will start to suffer things such as pavement falling apart in terms of creating potholes and allowing the water to come into the into the pavement itself,” Soldo explained to councillors.

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Brown criticized public works in his audit suggesting the lack of a sealing strategy resulted in “reflective cracking” on roads resurfaced in 2014.

The process is most effective in pavements three to seven years old but not effective in roadways with severe fatigue cracking.

Hamilton had not been facilitating an annual program prioritizing other pavement preservation techniques.

A review of records revealed the process was halted in 2014 after district roadway maintenance operators viewed it as a “disruptive treatment” creating dust.

The latest city report suggest technology has since improved and that the sealing creates far less dust.

“We have started to arrange that program and that … program will continue into the future,” Soldo said.

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A crack sealing contract has since been tendered and awarded by the city’s transportation maintenance division to undertake 18,000 linear meters of crack sealing at a cost of $100,000.

The program will expand in 2022 increasing to $150,000 and funded from a new capital account designated specifically for crack sealing.

As of late March, city staff say close to 23,000 potholes across Hamilton have had to be filled since the start of year.

Claims tied to damage caused by the pits continue to roll in with 375 damage claims officially submitted.

Diana Swaby, acting manager of risk management services, told Global News the pothole situation in Hamilton in 2022 is on par with a record set in 2018 when there were 535 claims over the entire year.

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