Public Works


How potholes form, how we manage them, and how to report them

Why Do Potholes Form?

Shoulder seasons can be very tough on City streets! When temperatures are above 0 degrees, snow begins to melt, and the water runoff finds its way under the road surface through cracks and other voids. Often, temperatures drop below 0 degrees overnight, causing the water in these cracks to freeze, expand, and ultimately break apart the asphalt, forming a pothole.

Filling Potholes

During the freeze-thaw cycles of the shoulder season, potholes may need to be filled multiple times, often within a 24-hour period. As vehicles pass over a pothole that’s been repaired with a temporary fix, the pothole may end up reopening quite quickly, depending on traffic levels—so while you may think a troublesome pothole is never tended to, you might be surprised how often we’ve been there to fix it!

We are currently experimenting with three different types of cold-mix asphalt to find the most cost-effective and longest-lasting product to address potholes during the shoulder seasons until a more permanent fix can be made during the summer months. There are some noteworthy advantages and disadvantages to each product, which we have shared below.

Company and ProductProsCons
W.R. Meadows Road Repair
  • Arrives in barrels, allowing for longer-lasting storage of the material without the product drying out
  • Can be applied in wet conditions
  • Breaks apart quickly
EZ Street Asphalt
  • Most affordable product
  • As effective as the W.R. Meadows Road Repair
  • Can be applied in wet conditions
  • Arrives in bulk bags; product dries out if not used
  • Breaks apart quickly
ATS Traffic Chipfill
  • Single application can last up to a year
  • Expensive
  • Need dry, warm road conditions for the material to bond properly

We are continuing to monitor the effectiveness of each product to ensure that our time spent in the field addressing these potholes results in the longest lasting repair possible while still addressing immediate hazards during wet conditions until a more permanent repair can be made.

The Cost of Pothole Repair

In Terrace, we can experience freeze/thaw weather patterns for months at a time. Over the past three years (January 2020–February 25, 2022), our crews have:

  • Spent $621,029 filling potholes,
  • of which $248,194 (or about 40%) was spent on pothole mix,
  • and took 5,846 labour hours to complete.

In 2022, from January 1 to February 25, crews have used about 50 tonnes of pothole mix. The infographic below shows the breakdown—you’ll notice that 2021 was an especially bad year for potholes.

Click to view a full-size image!

Report a Pothole

Please be on alert for potholes during these shoulder seasons and drive safely.

To report a pothole, please reach out to Public Works at 250-615-4021 to ensure we can reply promptly.

For vehicle damage attributed to potholes, please contact your insurance provider.