A bumpy year: Milder winter means more Toronto potholes

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A bumpy year: Milder winter means more Toronto potholes

Toronto might be enjoying a milder winter than last year, but it comes at a price: more potholes.

The city has repaired about 21,000 more potholes this year compared to 2016, Trevor Tenn, manager of road operations, told CBC Toronto.

"This is about average, I would say," he said.

"In previous seasons we've had a lot of potholes. It depends on the complaints we get, it depends on the freeze/thaw cycle."

Potholes are less likely to develop if it's freezing all winter. But when there's a greater freeze/thaw fluctuation, the potholes creep in.

According to the city, potholes form when water gets through a crack in road asphalt. When that water freezes and expands, part of the pavement is forced upwards. Cars then drive over the road, breaking the pavement and forcing the asphalt out.

Tenn said between January and March, the city filled in roughly 56,700 potholes — there were 35,500 potholes repaired during the same time period in 2016.

1 pothole fix = $25

According to the city's website, repairing each pothole costs $25 on average. Tenn says the job takes about 15-20 minutes. 

Tenn says Toronto residents have filed 48 per cent more complaints about potholes this year, rising from from 1,570 last year to 2,300. When somebody informs the city of a pothole, Tenn said crews try to repair it within four or five days.

While the milder weather might make for more potholes,Tenn said it also means city crews can focus more on fixing the problem.

Mechanic noticing more problems

Michael Tavares, a mechanic at Master Mechanic High Park, says he's noticing the difference this year.

He said about four people come in every week with damage to their vehicles caused by potholes.

"I find this year there's a lot more damage with the tires," he said, noting that severe damage can cost drivers hundreds of dollars.

"I've seen cars with a ball joint broken off and they come in a tow truck because of a big pothole."

Tavares said drivers should try to avoid potholes, or push the brake slowly while going over a pothole to mitigate the impact.

On its website, the city says fixing potholes costs about $6 million in total each year.