Drivers urged to use caution during pothole season

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO – Drivers, slow down and take caution, it’s pothole season.

Potholes are becoming an increasing nusiance for motorists this winter in Truro and surrounding areas.

That is the advice from Andrew MacKinnon director of Engineering and Public Works with the Town of Truro.

“Please slow down,” MacKinnon suggests, as a way to help avoid the growing number of potholes that are eating up area streets and roads.

“Particularly and night and when there’s water on the road,” he said, “because when the pothole fills up you have no idea if you are hitting a two-inch pothole or a 12-inch pothole.”

While some motorists may question why more isn’t being done to the deal with the problem, MacKinnon said the town’s crews are out “every day patching potholes.”

And if drivers are beginning to think the problem is worse this year than in past winters, they may not be far off the mark.

Truro resident Allen Darby is one motorist who has already had his share of shakes and bumps from the state of the streets. And while he said he understands it is an ongoing battle that is hard to conquer at this time of year, Darby suggested, rather tongue in cheek perhaps, that a new Olympic sport could be created called “dodge the potholes” to at least lighten the temperament for motorists who must deal with them.

“It just seems to be they are flourishing this year,” he said.

On that point, MacKinnon agreed.

“This year is worse earlier than normal,” he said. “Just because we had such an early start to winter and a long winter.”

The freeze and the thaw that comes with vastly varying temperatures of late, along with the amount of snowfall this winter, has also contributed to the problem,” he said.

Built up snow banks along the streets do not allow for proper runoff so the water often gets trapped in small cracks or holes in the pavement. And with the freezing and thawing process that follows, the pothole problem continues to worsen.

Another major problem at this time of year for dealing with potholes, MacKinnon said, is the fact that hot asphalt is not available (the local plant generally begins operations in May), which means a cold mix has to be used for the patchwork.

“Cold mix is not good. It doesn’t stay in the potholes. It is very tough for it to stay bound together well. The binding, it just doesn’t last. And a whole lot of times you are dealing with wet conditions too,” he said. “Between the cold and the wet and the salt, the cold mix just does not work good.”

Although town crews use torches to dry out the larger holes before they are patched and then pack it in as good as they can, MacKinnon said, all best efforts at this time of year are simply a stopgap measure.

“They use a good procedure. But that good procedure will just make it last about a week, as opposed to a day. That’s about the difference that the good procedure makes.”

Organizations: Public Works

Geographic location: Truro

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Recent comments

  • Mark Wells
    February 26, 2014 - 07:49

    Agreed that the cold and fluctuating temperatures don't help but I think the overall neglect of our roads is the primary factor. The province and municipality have let the roads go so long that they're now looking at a serious undertaking to repair/replace them...time for our gas tax to be put back where it was intended; robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn't seem to helping Peter.

  • Diane VanHerk
    February 26, 2014 - 05:42

    With regards to Mr. MacKinnon's remarks on potholes in the Town; the holes could be 2" or 12", I am assuming he means deep, because there a lot of 12" or close to it deep holes that could do serious damage to a car. This excuse of small cracks or holes in pavement where water gets in, is getting thin. The holes have been patched so many times over the years, that some of the main streets are nothing but patched holes. Repaving streets would be an option if contracted out; otherwise it takes months of a street severly restricted , i.e. Queen Street before traffic can resume. It certainly is not safe to drive in Truro at night when these crators can't be seen.