With the addition of sunshine, warmer temperatures and a touch of rain, spring may bring a fine crop of potholes to the Shuswap.
Similar to milfoil or burdock, though, they won’t be welcomed. Already potholes are a thorn in the side of at least one Salmon Arm resident.
Dale Ambler’s beef is with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways (MOTI), which he says patches holes but doesn’t make the long-term fixes required. He thinks holes should be ground down, then hot-tarred and resurfaced.
He estimates in the past three years he’s seen a pothole at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and 30th Street NE patched 12 times by highway contractors.
In the fall, city workers did repairs on 30th Street NE, he says, and he wonders why the highways ministry wouldn’t have done their portion at the same time.
“Let’s say you had two taillights out. So we say, let’s fix one today and do the other one next week.”
He’s also noticed potholes in the vicinity of the T-intersection near the former Canadian Tire store as well as at the overpass at 21st Street NE and Highway 1.
Farther afield, there are spots at Kault Hill that have been patched, as well as a pothole near Carlin Elementary in the eastbound lane.
“They never did fix it right, and it’s really bad for trucks and buses right now,” Ambler says.
He worries about safety regarding potholes, with the chance that a front tire could land in the hole, or a motorcycle tire.
He thinks it would be cheaper to fix a hole once, the right way, than to spend money on repeated patches.
Meanwhile, MOTI states in an email: “Our maintenance contractor, JPW Road and Bridge Inc., is continually patrolling, identifying and repairing potholes… More permanent fixes will be done in the spring when the weather is more suitable for paving work, to ensure the repairs will last. Repairs made during winter are temporary in nature due to limitations of the materials used in the repair.”
The email suggests people can help by reporting potholes to JPW Road and Bridge Inc. at 1-877-546-3799, or going onto DriveBC and clicking on ‘Report a Problem.’
As for city roads, Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, says pothole complaints have been minimal but things will likely get worse as temperatures warm.
“At this time, with the extreme cold weather at nights there is less break-up in the roads but, as the temperatures get warmer and the frost starts coming out of the ground, we will most likely see more potholes develop.”