Quiet streets this year help Edmonton road crews fill more potholes

The City of Edmonton has filled more potholes than last year at this point, citing quiet streets during the pandemic as reason for more repairs.

One city councillor says road conditions are the worst he’s ever seen

Potholes and loose gravel cover 124th Street near 63rd Avenue in the Grandview Heights neighbourhood. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

A decrease in traffic combined with an increase in complaints has seen the city tackling more potholes on Edmonton streets this year.

Edmonton's road maintenance crews have already filled 163,104 potholes, an increase of more than 33,000 from the same time last year.

There has been less traffic in recent months as a result of the pandemic and more people working from home, said a spokesperson for the city.

Meanwhile, the city's 311 service has received 13,268 notifications related to potholes, almost 1,200 more than last year. This city has been promoting its 311 app as a way to report potholes.

All this has allowed the city to do more pothole repair work, Zak Fairbrother said in an email. 

"These increases do not necessarily mean there are more potholes this year compared to previous years. Just that more are being reported to our teams," said Fairbrother. 

"This is a positive, as we rely on the public to submit these notifications for our teams to action, in addition to proactively monitoring."

The city completed more than 500,000 asphalt repairs last year and expects to do the same in 2020.

Jin Feng Lieu lives in the Grandview Heights neighborhood, where potholes are prevalent. A block from his home on 124th Street, the road is in rough shape.

"Previously, a little bit disappointed because no one [came] to fix these holes," said Lieu.

Several potholes that have worn into the road along 125th Street near 63rd Avenue. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

The city is planning to start reconstruction and repaving of roads in the neighborhood next month as part of its neighbourhood renewal program, which Lieu is looking forward to.

Councillor requested report on roads

Road conditions in general are a concern for Coun. Tim Cartmell.

He said the majority of complaints he's received lately from residents have been related to roads and potholes.

"To me, the roads are in far worse condition than they've ever been," Cartmell said.

While he acknowledged his point of view is anecdotal and not based on data, Cartmell does wonder if something more could be done to lessen the damage to city roads.

"The potholes are off the hook. That is my own observation," he said. 

"They've [city crews] done three or four passes for instance on Riverbend Road and there are still big holes in those roads so that, to me, is a question. Do we have a technical issue at work here, more than just winter?" 

Cartmell has requested a city report on the asphalt mix it uses, along with a look at the condition and life expectancy of Edmonton roads. 

About the Author

Travis McEwan


Travis McEwan is a video journalist who has not won any awards. Originally from Churchill, Manitoba, he's spent the last decade working at CBC Edmonton. Email story ideas to travis.mcewan@cbc.ca