Pothole season scrapes, bounces, drags on


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Bob and Penny Miller have lived in the Saskatchewan Avenue area for 20 years but are now dodging the northwest Winnipeg road for their own safety.

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Bob and Penny Miller have lived in the Saskatchewan Avenue area for 20 years but are now dodging the northwest Winnipeg road for their own safety.

Riddled with potholes, some so deep a car moving at the speed limit would almost surely take out a bumper or a tire, the stretch between Cavalier Drive and Buchanan Boulevard has become a true hazard.

“It’s amazing we haven’t had hundreds of accidents, really,” Penny told the Free Press.

The stretch of Saskatchewan between Cavalier Drive and Buchanan Boulevard is riddled with potholes. (Malak Abas / Winnipeg Free Press)

The chunk of Saskatchewan Avenue has gained its own little piece of online notoriety, after a photo of a man standing in a pothole that reaches past his knees drew equal parts jokes and recognition on Reddit, where it’s received some 500 upvotes on the Winnipeg subreddit.

Watching cars attempt to pass through the area highlights the dire journey. Drivers are forced to either swerve or inch through traffic. One such driver even rolled down a window and voiced their concerns to a Free Press reporter while bumping down the avenue.

“It’s just unbelievable… and they don’t pay for our wheels and the alignment when everything goes underneath. It’s terrible,” the driver said before continuing on.

Bob and Penny Miller have lived in the area for 20 years and have never seen the potholes this bad. (Malak Abas / Winnipeg Free Press)

Despite nearly 50,000 pothole repairs having been made across the city this season, further incoming wet weather means drivers won’t be out of the woods just yet.

“It is expected that with the current forecasted rainfall, more potholes will be developing on some city streets in the days ahead and crews will continue to make longer-term repairs with hot asphalt throughout the coming months as required to improve the overall condition of the roadway,” city spokesman Ken Allen told the Free Press in an email.

As of May 6, crews had repaired 46,563 potholes, and the 311 city line had received 5,060 pothole-related requests for service.

Flat tire-related calls to CAA have also jumped substantially in the last two months compared to last year (1,594 in April, from 782 in April 2021; 679 from May 1-11, from 296 in the same period in 2021). The roadside service group noted more people are likely on the roads this year because of loosened COVID-19 restrictions.

Some of the largest potholes on Saskatchewan Avenue (including the online subject) have been filled but many were left open, confusing the Millers.

“There’s a few spots up there where it looks like they’ve plopped some (asphalt) down, and maybe drove over it, and it’s just so random,” Bob said.

“Why would they have left a little wee piece if they had all that expense moving all that equipment here, and doing a little piece of the road up there? It’s bizarre,” Penny added. “It’s a waste of money for them to bring all that equipment, they could have just done the whole thing.”

City crews may be called to cover only a few potholes on a pothole-covered road for a multitude of reasons, Allen said.

Some may be too wet or not deep enough to repair, there may be too much traffic to get to all the potholes safely, and crews may be redirected to other locations that more urgently need fixing, the city spokesman said.


Malak Abas

Malak Abas

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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