Inside Truro: It's pothole season

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I am sure that I am not alone in thinking that this winter has been horrible, for many reasons. 

The freezing temperatures, the huge amounts of snow, the weekly storms…I’m tired of it!

And another reason winter has been so horrible - the amount of potholes everywhere. This winter has been especially cold, and the frozen asphalt combined with the length of time it has been frozen means potholes.

Patching potholes during the winter season is not as easy as it sounds.

The facilities that produce hot asphalt are not open in the winter. That leaves the town with cold patch, which is just not as long lasting as hot asphalt. It is a temporary fix.

Crews attempt to make the cold patch stick better by heating the sub base of the pothole with torches and then applying the cold patch. They then apply sand to the cold patch after it is packed, which can make it last a little bit longer. Continuous vehicle traffic over the affected areas draws the cold patch back out of the pothole and before you know it, the offending pothole is back.

Council provided capital money last year to purchase an asphalt recycler, a machine that heats up old asphalt overnight to produce a product that simulates hot asphalt to patch holes. This product is better than cold patch but also has limitations due to road temperatures.

Public works crews are out every day patching these potholes, but it’s not a quick job. For each pothole, the section of street must have the appropriate traffic control, regulated by the province. Setting up of the traffic control signs, pylons, etc. can add a half-hour to each pothole fix. Not to mention the disruption to traffic.

We have been focusing our attention on larger sections of streets that have a substantial amount of potholes. Once spring has officially sprung and the hot asphalt facilities re-open, the main focus of the crews will be on patching with hot patch.

In the meantime, we appreciate calls from residents about the location of potholes and alerting us to road hazards; we can’t fix the potholes if we’re not aware of them. For now, please bear with us as we do the best we can with the materials available and reduce your speed accordingly.


Amanda Smees is the executive assistant and communications officer for the Town of Truro.

Geographic location: Truro

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