Midway into summer construction season, the equivalent of an estimated 100,000 potholes have been repaired on Saskatoon city streets. Since early April, 1,745 tonnes of hot asphalt has been used on pothole repairs alone – enough to fill 14 backyard swimming pools.
"Residents continue to tell us in our annual survey that road maintenance is their top priority for civic services," said Pat Hyde, director of public works. "They also participate in the repair process by calling in or going online to report issues, including the reporting of 2,300 potholes so far this season. We value this timely information because it allows us to map out repairs and to respond to and secure emergency locations quickly."
Every reported road issue is inspected and rated to determine the urgency and type of repair. Ratings are based on size, location (driving lane is a higher priority than curb lane), priority class of the street, and how hazardous the pothole is for drivers. Designated priority one and two streets take precedence as these are high-traffic routes that are used by emergency vehicles. Potholes that have the potential for causing damage are considered an emergency and are scheduled for repair as soon as possible.
While sometimes reported as potholes, city crews also pave an average of 20 utility cuts on Saskatoon roads each day following a similar priority for repair. A utility cut is a straight-edged break in the pavement from an excavation to access underground water and sewer pipes. During the cold months, when temperatures reach below zero, hot asphalt for paving isn't an option and utility cuts from water main breaks or other emergency repairs are maintained with graders until they can be paved.
"Our utility cut patching crews have already repaired 642 locations this season," said Hyde. "However, with ongoing construction in Saskatoon through summer, it can feel like there's a new utility cut added to our commute for every one that is repaired. We want to thank everyone for their patience and cooperation during the various phases of repair for both potholes and utility cuts."