Okanagan residents have seen their share of weather conditions in the last month and it’s starting to have more prolonged effects on the roads.
Potholes are showing up on city streets much earlier than in years past.
The fluctuating temperatures seen in the Okanagan in recent weeks haven’t been helpful.
“The freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw is really hard on roads — probably one of the biggest contributing factors to accelerated asphalt damage,” said city of Kelowna roadways operations manager Andrew Schwerdtfeger.
When temperatures were closer to -20 C, the roads were frozen solid, which helped the city of Kelowna in dealing with potholes. However, that changes when it starts to warm up.
“Standing water, whenever the water can’t make it to the catch basins — we get ponding on the road and then traffic pounding through that water separates the asphalt layers,” Schwerdtfeger said.
“That’s the beginning step of a pothole and then it just breaks down as traffic hits it over and over and over.”
There is still snow and ice along many city streets but Schwerdtfeger said that won’t stop roadway crews from getting to the more urgent ruts.
“Just given the nature of vehicle damage and safety, if they get to a certain size, we’ll drop everything and go fix them right away or at least fill them in with asphalt millings,” he said.
“Potholes are definitely a priority but we’re balancing plowing the roads and potholes at this time of year and it’s the same crews doing both.”
The city has received 20 requests in the last 60 days to repair the craters, however, some won’t be fixed until the spring.
“We have been responding to those as we get time when we’re not plowing the roads. Right now, we have four open service requests that are outstanding,” Schwerdtfeger said.
Residents can report areas that require pothole patching or maintenance through the city of Kelowna’s website.