'Perfect conditions' for potholes in Ottawa, city says

The city says Ottawa is going through another freeze-thaw cycle and that means a rough ride for anyone travelling on wheels — and their hubcaps.

Ottawa has had 42 freeze-thaw cycles since November

A hubcap sits next to a string of potholes on the Riverside Drive on-ramp to the northbound lanes of Bronson Avenue. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

The city's road management crews are bracing for another freeze-thaw cycle to create the "perfect conditions for potholes."

Bryden Denyes, Ottawa's area manager for core roads, said the city is in the midst of its 42nd swing in temperatures since November.

"This is perfect conditions for potholes to start coming out. We've got warm weather with a lot of water on the road, with heavy traffic volume," Denyes said.

With another drop below freezing Wednesday night and thaw by Friday morning, that means more bumpy travel for Ottawa road users.

"All that moisture freezes and then once traffic starts hitting it, the vibrations and the pressure start [to cause] the asphalt to deteriorate," he said.

"Then as soon as we have another warm spell, so another thaw, then potholes start to come out."

The evidence is piling up as hubcaps are strewn — or stacked — along Ottawa roads next to ankle-deep puddles that hide the craggy maws of potholes.

'Over $2,000 in damage'

Sangeeta Acharya said her family has already felt the impact of these rough road conditions.

"Just last Thursday evening, we were in Kanata on a public road and we encountered a major pothole and the car went right in. And, full flat  — right away," Acharya said.

She and her 19-year-old son Neil Chander said the car needed to be towed and have two tires and two rims replaced as well as a re-alignment of the axle. On top of that, they needed to rent a car while the work was done.

"It was over $2,000 in damage," Acharya said.

Sangeeta Acharya and her son Neil Chander, 19, have experienced potholes in Kanata and during their drive Wednesday afternoon on Riverside Drive near Bronson Avenue. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

She said she reported the pothole to 311 and they are planning to file a claim with the city for damage.

"They told me that there's not much that they can do. They might send somebody out to look at it, but I really want to avert an accident for someone else," Acharya said.

Conditions perfect for potholes in Ottawa


3 years ago
City staff say they freeze, thaw cycle leaves Ottawa roads vulnerable to potholes. 1:01

Up to 20 crews during daytime

City road manager Denyes said there are between five and 10 city road crews clearing ice from drains and filling potholes overnight and, including contractors, up to 20 during the day.

Denyes said crews monitor the streets and encourage residents to call 311 if they see a pothole, so road crews can co-ordinate their response.

"We go out based on our road classification system which is tied to our maintenance quality standards. And we fill them that way. We have certain time frames that we have to address them," he said.

Since January 1st, about 10,000 potholes have been patched by the city, compared to 20,000 about this time last year, according to Denyes.