A city councillor is calling for an emergency strategy to deal with the potholes and crumbling streets wreaking havoc with traffic throughout Winnipeg.

A city councillor is calling for an emergency strategy to deal with the potholes and crumbling streets wreaking havoc with traffic throughout Winnipeg.

After receiving 96 complaints over the weekend, Coun. Kevin Klein said he will make the recommendation at Thursday’s council meeting.

Klein said councillors will have to find areas where non-essential spending can be cut to pay for immediate street repairs.

While unseasonably cold temperatures have forced the city to stick with temporary pothole patches for the time being, the Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood councillor said the level of damage warrants immediate attention.

He said council should prepare funding and a strategy to expedite permanent repairs as soon as the weather allows, possibly by hiring additional crews.

"The roads are literally falling apart… I think people are at the end of their rope and they are mad," he said.

The number and severity of concrete breaks and holes has caused numerous delays on many major routes, according to Twitter alerts from Winnipeg’s Transportation Management Centre.

North Kildonan resident Bill McDonald said some of the hazards have existed for weeks, so it’s unfair that those who hit them are typically expected to pay for any damage to their vehicles.

"It’s impossible to drive and miss them. If you drive to conditions, nobody would go anywhere," said McDonald.

Coun. Jeff Browaty, who has served on council since 2006, said this year’s harsh, extended winter created the worst potholes he’s ever seen.

"With all the moisture on the roads, overnight freezing, it’s a recipe for disaster in terms of (moisture) getting into those crevasses," said Browaty (North Kildonan).

City spokesperson Ken Allen said crews are already working as quickly as possible to repair the damage but weather conditions have frustrated that effort.

"Due to unfavorable wet weather, wet road conditions and ongoing freeze-thaw cycles… the cold-mix patching material used at this time of year is not effectively adhering to the roadway and crews may have to return several times to repair the same pothole," Allen said in an emailed statement.

<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Potholes on Route 90 near Tuxedo Avenue in Winnipeg. More than 33,000 potholes have been filled so far in 2022, and Winnipeggers filed 3,323 requests to get specific holes repaired.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Potholes on Route 90 near Tuxedo Avenue in Winnipeg. More than 33,000 potholes have been filled so far in 2022, and Winnipeggers filed 3,323 requests to get specific holes repaired.

More than 33,000 potholes have been filled so far in 2022, and Winnipeggers filed 3,323 requests to get specific holes repaired, he noted. However, more are expected to emerge, so repairs will likely continue into the summer months.

Coun. Brian Mayes said extended winter weather and aging roads are both to blame for the treacherous driving conditions. However, he stressed that council has greatly increased its road-renewal budget over the past decade, including cash to resurface a pothole-plagued section of Bishop Grandin Boulevard.

"We’re not ignoring the problem… Bishop is a good example. It’s battered to hell there and we fixed (the potholes) but there’s also money in the budget to come and do the road," said Mayes (St. Vital).

Council’s public works chairman said the city could be wasting money if it rushes to complete temporary repairs before the weather warms up.

"It’s a balancing act and these are exceptional conditions," said Coun. Matt Allard. "I’m not sure it’s worth putting good money after bad, filling holes that are going to be needing to be filled again in, presumably, days.… Any solution we put in practice today is going to be a very temporary one."

Allard (St. Boniface) stressed the fact the city has filled 10 times the number of potholes than have been reported shows both time and resources have been devoted to fixing the roads thus far.

Coun. Scott Gillingham, who has also received a lot of complaints from constituents, stressed that plenty of work has been done.

"My understanding is the public works department is working flat out … But it is an abnormal year. It’s been a very difficult winter," said Gillingham (St. James).

Meanwhile, people driving outside the city are encountering nasty road conditions, as well.

Headingley resident Richard Maslanka hit a large pothole and blew out his tire Tuesday morning on Highway 75. He said the section between Ste. Agathe and Morris is marked by deep craters, which he fears will cause a major accident.

"The whole centre section has just craterous holes.… On a highway, when you’re doing 100 (km/h) and you’ve got (semi-trailers) that are quite frequent, this is serious to me and something’s got to be done about it," said Maslanka.

A provincial spokesperson said crews are ready to fix the damage but lasting repairs will require a drier surface.

"This year has seen the third-highest level of snowfall of the last 100 years, with the cold and high winds," the spokesperson said in an email. "And now, with historic rains, this winter and spring has been very hard on the roads."

Joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.