Pothole Repairs in 2016

With signs of spring just around the corner, Winnipeggers are also encountering more potholes on our roadways due to an early freeze-thaw cycle this year.   In response, the City of Winnipeg has approved $1.8 million in 2016 for pothole repairs (see Global News article below).

If you see a pothole, it’s very important that you report it!  You can help keep our roads safe and free of potholes by reporting potholes:

What Causes Potholes?

Six primary factors contribute to the formation of potholes:

  1. Soil moisture levels in the fall
  2. Freeze/thaw cycle counts and each duration of a freeze/thaw cycle
  3. Precipitation amounts
  4. Frost depth
  5. Spring thaw time frames
  6. Precipitation (rain) during the spring thaw period

Freeze thaw cycles during the spring season cause most potholes. During warmer weather, the snow melts, causing water to seep into the cracks in the pavement and/or sub base. When the temperature drops, the water freezes and causes the sub base to expand. This puts pressure on the pavement in a small area, resulting in pavement failure or a pothole.

Similarly, water in the cracks or in between the concrete and asphalt overlays can freeze, causing pieces of pavement to pop out. Heavy traffic puts an added burden on weak pavement.

How are Potholes Repaired?  

The City strives to repair potholes in a safe and cost effective manner, keeping in mind safety, budget, personnel, and environmental concerns. Depending on the situation, a pothole repair may involve a temporary, semi-permanent or permanent solution. There are three primary types of repairs:

Temporary Repair

  • Cold-mix patch.
  • Asphalt product designed to remain workable during cold weather.
  • Good bond between pavement and patch is not made, thus water can quickly find its way under the patch forcing it out due to freeze thaw action.

Semi-Permanent Repair

  • Pressurized-Emulsion Patch
  • Machine-applied spray consisting of a combination of hot emulsified asphalt oil and crushed limestone chips.
  • High pressure at which the patch material is sprayed forces it tightly into the pothole, and to some extent, it displaces water in the pothole.
  • Repair lasts approximately 6 – 8 months

Permanent Repair

  • Hot-mix patch made of hot asphalt.
  • Applied during dry weather.
  • Debris in the pothole is swept/blown out and a tack coat of sticky emulsified asphalt oil is applied to the pothole.
  • The hot asphalt mixture is placed into pothole and compacted with a vibratory plate compactor or vibratory roller.
  • Produces a dense, hard patch that seals the edges of the pothole preventing water from getting under the patch.

Reporting a Vehicle Damaged by a Pothole

If your vehicle was damaged when you hit a pothole, we recommend contacting Manitoba Public Insurance. A clear advantage to contacting them is that the MPI Adjuster will handle many of the details associated with resolving this situation.

You also have the option of contacting the City Claims Department directly; however you will be responsible for handling many of the details that the MPI Adjuster would have handled for you.  When contacting City Claims directly, you will be expected to:

  • Provide a minimum of two estimates
  • Arrange an appointment with a City Claims adjuster to see damage


Pothole-Patching Crews Catching Up After Early Start to Season
Global News Winnipeg – April 4, 2016

Winnipeg pothole crews have used significantly more patching material so far this year than they had at the same point last year.

Crews have used 422 tons of the filling material as of Monday compared to 350 tons last year.

“The frost was coming out of our roadway at a two week early stage so we were seeing an influx of pothole failures,” said Jim Berezowsky, Winnipeg’s manager of streets maintenance.

That early onset of warm weather meant crews were out in full force earlier than usual to fill an estimated 12,000 potholes.

If the freeze-thaw cycle continues like the forecast suggests, the city is expecting another influx of potholes. 

“When you see those overnight lows rise above zero again you’re going to see a period of time where those come back,” said Berezowsky.

The city budget has $1.8 million set aside for pothole repair.

However, it’s still too early to predict if the early warm weather and freeze-thaw cycles will force the city to over spend, said public works committee chair person Janice Lukes.

“If ever we do go over that budget amount we will definitely find it within the budget to address the safety concerns,” said Lukes.




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