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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Where streets are paved with potholes

Posted: 04/29/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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JAMES Ballesteros was driving home from work on Inkster Boulevard last week when he hit a pothole with such force a wheel flew off his car.

"I remember actually lifting up from my seat," said Ballesteros, a store manager at Garden City Shopping Centre.

"I was like, 'OK, I'll drive slower,' and my car started to shake. And as I continued to drive, my wheel fell off and I heard metal grinding on pavement."

Since Feb. 1, the City of Winnipeg has received a total of 1,799 calls to the 311 line regarding potholes.

Ballesteros has a meeting with Manitoba Public Insurance on Thursday to discuss his claim.

"I got a call yesterday saying that they assumed the damage is over $3,000. It's most likely a writeoff because it's an older car."

Now in a borrowed car, Ballesteros has chosen a different route to work.

"I take Arlington (Street) now," Ballesteros said of his new route. "It's actually slower because I have to go around everything."

Tammy Melesko, communications officer for the City of Winnipeg, said the annual budget for repairing potholes is $1.5 million. But the city can spend $2 million on potholes in a bad year.

A long winter and frequent cycles of freezing and thawing can contribute to a bad year of potholes.

About 11 crews have been deployed and are into the first month of repairs, filling potholes on main streets, bus routes and collector streets, according to a March news release from the city. Residential streets receive second priority.

Julie George, a University of Manitoba student, said there are many potholes in the Fort Garry area where she lives.

"I drive to work and it's a bumpy road," George said. "Usually McGillivray is the worst."

George also said driving to school is a rocky journey.

"The roads around the new stadium on campus are full of bumpy potholes. I'd describe it as very rough country-road-like."

George's commutes on pothole-heavy roads have taken a toll on her tires.

"We had to change our tires twice. They keep hitting potholes," George said.

José Ferreira, manager and owner of Fountain Tire on Portage Avenue, has noticed an increase in the number of vehicles in his garage for pothole damage.

"We are definitely seeing people come in for wheel alignments," Ferreira said.

"Aluminum wheels do take a hit when they hit these potholes. And sometimes beyond damage to your tires, as well."

Ferreira said the best way to protect vehicles from pothole damage is to slow down.

"Speed increases damage," Ferreira said.

"Other than that, there's not much else you can do."

cindy.chan@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 29, 2013 A4

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