Edmonton

Yellowhead County calls on province to fix 'dangerous' potholes on Highway 16

Yellowhead County is calling on the provincial government to fix notorious potholes spotted along Highway 16, also known as Yellowhead Highway.

Mayor says he's been getting several complaints of damaged vehicles

A pothole on Highway 16, documented by peace officers in Yellowhead County. (Submitted by Yellowhead County)

Yellowhead County is calling on the provincial government to fix large potholes spotted along Highway 16.

"The highway is getting so bad people are really getting concerned right now. It's to the point where it needs to be corrected," said Jim Eglinski, the county's mayor.

The potholes can be seen on Highway 16 from Edson to Edmonton, according to Eglinski.

The county has paid specific attention recently to some potholes along the highway near Wildwood, Alta., approximately 120 kilometres east of Edmonton.

Some of the potholes are a few metres long, 30 centimetres deep and are getting bigger, Eglinski said.

Another pothole photographed by peace officers on Highway 16. (Submitted by Yellowhead County)

"It's to the point where it is dangerous at times," he said. 

"If you're not paying attention [and] the road's a little icy, you hit one of them, they could throw the vehicle and you could lose control very easily." 

Damaged vehicles

The mayor has been receiving calls from residents who claim their vehicles were damaged from the potholes.

He said the county doesn't have a system to track these complaints because they're directed to the province. He believes they've received approximately 20 calls during the last few weeks. 

Alberta Transportation did not provide CBC News with information about damage claims received from the public in the Edson area. 

Leif Peterson, a resident of Stony Plain, said he encountered a pothole on Yellowhead Highway almost a year ago that was around six metres long.

Leif Peterson says his rims were damaged after he ran over a pothole on the Yellowhead Highway, near Stony Plain, in March 2019. (Leif Peterson)

"It damaged the rims completely, caved in one portion of both of them in exactly the same place ... and my airbag deployed on my little Smart car," Peterson said. 

Peterson said he submitted a claim to Alberta Transportation but received no compensation. 

"I thought I did everything right, and a few months later, after I turned it in, they got back to me  and said 'No, you don't qualify.'" 

County council wrote a letter to Alberta's transportation minister last week, asking the ministry to fix the pothole problem.

As of Thursday evening, the county had not received a response.

In an emailed statement to CBC News on Thursday, Brooklyn Elhard, press secretary for the province's transportation minister, said the department is aware of the issue. 

Yellowhead County Mayor Jim Eglinski says he has received about a couple dozen complaints from people saying potholes have damaged their vehicles. (Submitted by Yellowhead County)

"Crews are currently out near Wildwood performing hand-patching repairs to address these issues. Crews will move on to address other priority areas on Highway 16 next week, pending weather," Elhard wrote. 

Alberta Transportation procedures for filing damage claims are published online.

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