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The City of Windsor has switched their focus from snow removal to pothole filling this week.
“There are four crews of two to three staff out each day and as many as five crews working at night to fill potholes right now,” says Roberta Harrison, Coordinator, Maintenance Operations at the city’s Crawford Yard.
The City runs a pothole scouting program year-round where a “scouter” in a car sees a pothole and hits a button that sends the location through GPS. The data is downloaded and patching crews are given a map directing them to the next hole needing filling. Even with the GPS system, the 311 Call Centre is also busy receiving notice from drivers. Since January 1 of this year, 657 potholes have been reported to 311 with 217 of those calls coming this week alone.
By comparison there were 218 calls in total between January 1st and February 22nd, 2017.
“When it’s a week like this, we focus on getting the main roads patched,” says Harrison, “because of the higher traffic and speed on them.”
Potholes occur when there’s a freeze/thaw cycle like we’ve experienced over the past week. When it warms, water melts and gets into the cracks on the surface. The water re-freezes then expands causing cracks to widen or pieces of asphalt to pop out.
In the cold months between December and April, asphalt plants are closed, so crews use what’s called “cold patch,” an asphalt mix designed to stay pliable in colder weather. This mix fills cracks and holes once it’s applied. When the asphalt plants re-open, crews will apply “hot mix.”