The roller coaster change in weather this week has brought a familiar problem to the surface of Montreal streets: potholes.

The early emergence of potholes — usually a telltale indicator of spring — has drivers fuming and city crews scrambling to patch them up before the next onslaught of precipitation. 

The extreme cold, heavy snowfall and milder weather has made for "beautiful weather for potholes," said CBC traffic reporter Leta Polson.

Potholes form when water seeps under pavement, freezes and then thaws, cracking the road surface. 

While the temporary thaw has many drivers thudding and bumping down particularly roughed-up arteries like parts of de la Gauchetière Street in downtown Montreal, the city is focused on repairing potholes on a priority basis.

City of Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said that these repairs will only be temporary because dry conditions are needed for a permanent fix to the pothole problem.

"Our crews have plenty on their plates," said Sabourin. "We had, in a few hours, the four seasons of Montreal." 

Sabourin says crews are first filling the holes that are big enough to cause serious damage before they can properly repave after the melt.

Montreal Resident Services

City of Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin wants citizens to alert the Public Works department about major potholes using the app, Montreal Resident Services. (CBC)

"To patch a pothole is only palliative care for streets," he said. "If you want to get rid of potholes you should avoid infiltration of water in the soil."

Last year the city filled approximately 200,000 potholes, he told CBC.

Montreal Resident Services.

The free app, Montreal Resident Services, is available for download on mobile or tablet. (CBC)

Report a pothole 

The city is asking for residents' help locating the worst potholes.

Anyone who wants to report a pothole can download the city's free app, Montréal–Resident Services, and report a pothole by taking a photo and tagging it to a location on the map.

The app also has a similar function used to report graffiti.

For a low-tech solution, drivers can also call 3-1-1 if they spot a dangerous pothole.

With files from Sudha Krishnan