With many residents staying at home and not driving on the roadways, Red Deer work crews have gotten a quick start on repairing potholes.
Greg Sikora, the city’s public works manager, said less traffic is an opportunity to get work done more quickly, but typically, potholes on busier roads are repaired in the evening or early in the morning to avoid high traffic periods.
He said a crew of five workers has already repaired almost 1,700 potholes in recent weeks. One crew typically works in the spring and another can be added later if necessary.
“We’re just beginning. Last year, we repaired roughly 13,000 potholes,” said Sikora, adding that 11,000 were fixed by Aug. 24, 2019.
Potholes are either identified by city workers, or the public, who can call 403-342-8238.
Sikora said most potholes develop in the spring and summer where there are wear points, or mini failures, in the road base over time.
“It allows the water to infiltrate, and with water infiltration, the base gets saturated. It loses its structural strength and the asphalt breaks on the top, resulting in a pothole.”
Older roads are more susceptible to the damage, said Sikora.
He said freezing and thawing multiple times in a typical spring can also cause water to expand and contract in the base, and buckle a road. Warmer periods in winter don’t usually cause problems, because the base remains frozen.
Ten years ago, the city had to deal with as many as 20,000 potholes, but increased spending on road maintenance by city council in recent years has helped trim the backlog, Sikora said.
“With increased maintenance funding, we have less infiltration, and we have less pothole generation. They work hand in hand.”