Spring arrives along with more potholes, flooding

By Jeff Labine
March 20, 2017 - 12:08pm Updated: March 20, 2017 - 4:20pm

Spring’s arrival means City of Prince Albert crews will be busy dealing with potholes and flooding.

On Monday, two city crews were already hitting the streets to patch up as many potholes as they are reported. Roughly 1,000 to 2,500 potholes per year are fixed throughout the city but that number usually depends on the weather.

Changing temperatures causes more potholes as moisture in pavement freezes and expands. The problem is worsened when vehicles drive over them.

Brent Kennedy, the city’s roadways manager, said over the past three weeks, crews have been busy filling in potholes. The city is able to send out a maximum of four crews.

“This would be our busiest time of the year,” he said. “The main roads are the ones we really concentrate on right off the start. If they aren’t on the mains, we really depend on the public to call in potholes. We really encourage to let us know. We don’t know where a lot of these potholes are until they are reported.”

He said once a pothole is reported, crews are sent out within 24 hours of the call or sooner depending on the severity.

During the winter months, the city uses a mixture with a lot of oil in it to keep it from freezing. The cold mix, as it is known, will be used until the temperature stays above freezing. The city then switches to what is known as a hot mix, which Kennedy explains lasts a bit longer.

He said the cold mix is only meant to be a temporary fix until they are able to use the hot mix. The switch to hot mix usually happens in May.

When a pothole becomes too big for a temporary fix, Kennedy explained crews use asphalt to fill it in.

“We keep track of all the potholes and where we fill them,” he said. “If we get on a street where we find this is just getting the maintenance end of it, then we report it in to our project manager and he’ll put it into his assistant to put it on his list for repaving.”

He added he didn’t know exactly how many were on the list for repaving but guess there was a lot.

To report a pothole, call (306) 953-4900.

While one city crew is dealing with potholes, another is dealing with flooding.

Amjad Khan, the city’s director of public works, said the sudden change in temperature along with the wind causes a lot of snow to melt. He said crews were busy dealing with flooding all weekend and Monday.

“West Hill and Crescent Acres are those areas where we have frozen service connections to the cage basins,” he said. “The cage basin is connected to a manhole to a pipe. Water usually freezes it during the winter time. So when the snow melts, then it doesn’t drain.”

To solve this problem, city crews have to go out and steam the pipe so the water can flow through again. Khan said there’s no way for the city to divert water away from flooded areas. Instead, to help solve the problem, the city has added another steamer to its fleet.

Like roads, public works is able to send out a total of four crews.

Khan added the work being done along 15th St. isn’t related to flooding but instead clearing out a 900-milimetre line, which is filled with sludge.

He urged residents to clear out the cage basin if dirt and debris is cluttering it.


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