Pothole prevention cash sought by councillor
Edmonton councillor Amarjeet Sohi is asking the city to spend an additional $10 to $12 million to prevent potholes caused partly by budget cuts.
Just over $40 million was cut from the current road repair budget in hopes that resurfacing work done in previous years would last.
However, a combination of an early snowfall and a freeze and thaw cycle this winter has caused a dramatic increase in the number of potholes on Edmonton roads.
In an inquiry made to the transportation committee last month, Sohi said that the available approved budget for pothole repair and preventative resurfacing along arterial roadways is being stretched.
"We cannot control the weather. We cannot control the temperature fluctuations," he said, "but we definitely can control how much money we are putting into doing the repairs that are necessary to do."
About 450,000 potholes are filled every year in Edmonton, nearly twice as many repairs as are needed in Calgary.
Although road crews have filled 57,000 potholes already this winter, the city received 74 complaints for pothole compensation in January alone - the highest number of complaints ever recorded.
In previous years, the city has tried to limit the number of potholes by resurfacing potential trouble spots.
Similar programs implemented five years ago saw significant improvements in road conditions, according to a city report.
But the reduced budget this year has left the city scrambling to keep up with the pothole problem.
"It is frustrating — not just for motorists, but everyone else," said Sohi.
"People who are on public transit, people who are biking, people who want to cross the road, people in wheelchairs — it is impacting many, many people and we need to find a solution."
According to the report, funding would likely have to come from money already approved in the city’s 2012-2014 capital plan.
Councillors on the transportation committee will discuss the issue on Wednesday.