City preparing for potholes

By Conner Toffan
March 15, 2019 - 5:45pm Updated: March 15, 2019 - 7:59pm

 

Medicine Hat, AB — Spring is on the way but with the warmer weather comes many potholes.

Since the snow started to melt two weeks ago, Craig Maunder, Operation Engineer for the City of Medicine Hat, says he’s seen potholes forming around the city.

“We’ve had a couple crews out there every day responding to service requests as well as proactively going out there and addressing some area’s that we are well aware will come up,” said Maunder.

Maunder says it seems like there should be a normal amount of potholes in Medicine Hat this year.

“Obviously if you have a dry winter you generally don’t have the potholes you see in the spring. If you have a wet winter where you’ve got a lot of those freeze and thaws, often in the spring you’ll see more of those potholes,” said Maunder. But this year, only having one big freeze and thaw should put Medicine Hat somewhere in between.

The potholes aren’t done forming yet, Maunder says they can’t get a true estimation until the frost is out of the ground.

Potholes are formed when water seeps through the road, creating cracks. When it freezes, the cracks expand. When the frost melts, there’s a lot of empty space in the ground.

“Vehicles are what really pulls the material out of the thing. So if you just had a road surface, it froze and thawed, no vehicles over it, you wouldn’t see potholes,” said Maunder. Running water can also be the finishing touches to form a pothole.

Maunder says hot asphalt plants are still closed. The city is using a “cold mix” to temporarily fix the roads. They’re hoping to get the hot asphalt, which is a more permanent fix, at some point in May.

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