Surrey has patched 9,000 potholes during the first three months of 2017 – as many as crews usually handle in a year – and will likely spend more than what’s budgeted for the work.
The region was hit with an extended stretch of cold winter weather, including several large blasts of snow, which has caused havoc on Surrey streets.
Several motorists have reported blown tires as they crashed into holes in the city’s asphalt.
Rob Costanzo, Surrey’s manager of operations, told The Leader Monday it’s been a busy season.
The city has had to fill three times the number of potholes this year as compared to the year prior, he said.
“We will very likely have more than just these potholes,” Costanzo said. “We typically maintain 9,000 potholes in an entire year, and here we’ve maintained close to that in the first three months of 2017.”
The potholes are occurring city-wide, but are particularly prevalent in the north.
“(In) the very north part of the city, we have seen some very large potholes,” Costanzo said. “In Bridgeview, on the King George Boulevard, near the Pattullo Bridge… the city has had to address some extremely large holes.
“The subsoil conditions in that area are not very good,” Costanzo said. “Bridgeview Drive is one area (of concern) and it’s due to the cracking of the road and the underground sub-surfaces that are heavily saturated.”
Several cars were damaged in the northern part of the city due to those potholes. Cost recovery from the damage begins with the driver’s auto insurer.
“If they place a claim forward through their insurance broker, then the city is obligated to look at that and investigate and make a determination accordingly,” Costanzo said.
He added there have been more than 200 claims this winter alone.
That investigation in itself presents a fair amount of work for city staff.
Potholes typically form when water enters the road through cracks, saturating the sub-base and making the road surface weaker at that spot.
Constant weight of vehicles travelling on the surface eventually causes potholes to form. Freezing temperatures accelerate the problem where water entering the cracks crystalize, increasing in size and causing the top layer of asphalt to pop off.
Surrey’s annual budget for pothole repair is $1.2 million, a figure that has almost been reached already.
Potholes are repaired once they have been brought to the city’s attention.
The public can report a pothole by contacting the City of Surrey’s Service Request line at 604-591-4152; by “Reporting a Problem” via the City of Surrey website at www.surrey.ca; or by using the MySurrey App.
Once a pothole is reported, city crews will assess and repair it within 24 hours, Constanzo said.