The unexpected January thaw has unleashed an unexpected rash of potholes across the city, like the sudden appearance of acne on a teenager’s face.

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This article was published 23/1/2017 (1775 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The unexpected January thaw has unleashed an unexpected rash of potholes across the city, like the sudden appearance of acne on a teenager’s face.

"Those popped up on the weekend," said Jim Berezowsky, the city’s street maintenance manager. "They start to appear out of nowhere."

Berezowsky said the city had nine one-tonne flat deck trucks loaded with cold pliable asphalt working across the city around the clock on the weekend and Monday, with crews filling up potholes as quickly as they could find them.

The city uses cold pliable asphalt throughout a winter season for a temporary pothole repairs. Once the snow is gone, around May, repair crews use hot-mix asphalt for more permanent repairs.

Last week’s thaw was unexpected, Berezowsky said, explaining that it usually doesn’t occur until mid-February, usually coinciding with the Festival du Voyageur.

With the mild weather conditions, potholes can spring up unexpectedly. Heavy traffic can sometimes push the asphalt material out of a recently repaired hole.

Berezowsky said his department depends on citizens calling 311 to report new outbreaks as soon as they are spotted.

"Even though the material is pliable, sometimes it doesn’t stay and we have to go back and do it again."

Berezowsky said the pothole situation is expected to stabilize by Thursday, when daytime temperatures reach closer to the normal range of -10 or colder. Once the weather stays cold, he said, the outbreak of further potholes is minimized -- until the weather warms up again.

The impact on the department budget depends on the temperature and the occurrence of further melt cycles. Berezowsky said the city orders 800 tonnes of cold pliable asphalt for every winter, but the final cost depends on the weather and if the city needs to order more.

"We’ll have to see how the rest of the spring plays out," he said. "Sometimes you get the one melt and you won’t get another one until the end of winter. But if we start to see these cycles happen every two weeks, definitely that will pose a challenge to the pothole efforts."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca