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Pot holes aren’t just a Winnipeg problem

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Pot hole statistics are astronomical all over North America.

PHOTO BY KEN GIGLIOTTI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS PHOTO ARCHIVE Enlarge Image

Pot hole statistics are astronomical all over North America. Photo Store Photo Store

The spring of 2014 may well be remembered as the worst-ever driving season  in Winnipeg due to the sizes and numbers of pot holes.

Because of the brutally cold, long winter we’ve experienced frost has penetrated the ground deeper than in the past and the pools of water laying on the road surfaces erode the pavement, causing the asphalt to buckle and crumble.

An Edmonton report on pot holes states that the fluctuation between March’s cold weather and the April thaw will cause an "asphalt cracking freeze-thaw cycle."

There, the City of Edmonton and the University of Alberta are developing a research partnership that eventually could put the dampers on their pot hole crisis. What a great project for a university engineering department to be involved in. Rather than hiring a consulting firm, which usually costs an exorbitant amount of money, they have thought outside the box and perhaps a single lecture by someone knowledgeable on the subject would allow the engineering students to take it from there.

Why not use the University of Manitoba in a similar partnership with the city of Winnipeg?

I don’t think the solution may come overnight but even a two- or three-year study by students may produce a better result than just patching year after year, resulting in dangerous roads every spring.

"Pellet patch," which was introduced via a recent  television news clip, could be a possible solution to repairing pot holes. Apparently the same asphalt we use now is mixed with rubber pellets and within 10 minutes of being applied traffic can drive over it. The product is supposedly used in Hamilton. Have we even contacted anyone there to see if it’s effective?

We are not the only city in Canada, or even internationally, that is experiencing pot hole problems. Reports out of Toronto say tover 84,000 pot holes have been repaired to date.

Calgary claims it has two seasons — winter and "pot hole season." Montreal has over 50,000 pot holes, Philadelphia, New York and Chicago have all reported they have the worst pot hole situations in recent memory in their cities.

The U.K., because of all of the rain and flooding this spring, is facing a £12 billion bill to fix its pot hole crisis. That converts to approximately $20 billion.

Obviously pot holes are a global problem. Surely someone can find a solution.


Rick Sparling is a community correspondent for North Kildonan. Email him at ricksparling@shaw.ca

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