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Potholes

Pothole Patching

With normal winter weather changes in Northwestern Ontario, conditions are perfect for potholes to form in the spring. Even after mild winters, potholes are as much a sign of spring as robins and daffodils. The Roads Division takes a number of steps to ensure quick efficient repair of potholes.

Why do potholes form?

Potholes happen when:

  • Moisture seeps into the pavement and sub-base, freezes, expands, and then thaws.
  • The freeze – thaw cycle weakens the pavement.
  • Traffic loosens the pavement even more.
  • Pavement crumbles and pops out.

Why do so many potholes happen in springtime?

Spring temperatures warm the cold pavement during the day.
Snow melts and resulting water flows into the pavement and freezes during the cold night.
Freeze/thaw cycle continues throughout the spring.
Freezing and thawing each day creates voids under the pavement.
This eventually causes the pavement to break up.
A winter of heavy snow or rain and many freeze/thaw cycles can create conditions leading to a significant pothole season ahead.

Who can I call to report a pothole?

Maintenance crews are constantly on the lookout for potholes, but the City welcomes citizen calls too. If the pothole is on a city street, contact the Roads Division Dispatch at 625-2195 days, after hours or on weekends.

How long will it take to fix the pothole?

It depends on where the pothole is located. If it is located on a very busy street, it will be repaired more quickly than potholes on less travelled streets.

How are potholes repaired?

In cold weather
Repairs are made using a “modified” cold patch asphalt. One of the characteristics of the modified cold patch is its ability to wick any water out of a pothole. This wicking characteristic can speed up the repair process and make it more permanent.

In warmer weather
Hot asphalt and compaction rollers are used to seal up shallow potholes and cracks in road pavement. This preventative maintenance helps to stop potholes from forming in the spring.

Why do some roads have more potholes than others?

High-traffic roads have more potholes than other roads due to the sheer weight and volume of traffic.

Can potholes be prevented?

Roads today are being built to reduce their moisture capacity. Researchers are developing a better, more durable pavement. Cold patch asphalt is also being improved to last longer.

Drivers should always:

  • Be Alert!
  • Be Cautious!
  • Drive Slowly!

Contact Information:

Call 625-2195 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Use the online form to report a pothole.

Or, report a pothole by email message to publicworks@thunderbay.ca.