What's With All The Potholes in Toronto, Hamilton & Kitchener Waterloo...

... and places in between like Burlington, Mississauga, Oakville, Guelph...

Seems like the biggest threats to cities from winter won't be snow-clearing anymore, but rather the damages done by winter to the roads themselves creating potholes.

You see, when water freezes, it expands. Then it thaws again. If the temperature goes down again overnight, it expands again.

Imagine a crack in a road, no matter how small. It'll get filled with water. Then it freezes and makes the crack a bit bigger. Now it thaws and fills up with more water. Freezes again and makes the crack even bigger.

And let us not forget the water that might be under a road.

With the crazy winter we've been having, this happens pretty often.

The Roads Are Getting Worse

Seriously, they haven't been this bad ever in my memory, and I'm a pretty young person, so it isn't my memory going. The number of freeze/thaw cycles seen this winter in Southern Ontario has probably damaged roads in 1 winter as much as they would be damaged (and repaired in between) 5 winters. Not that I'm an engineer, but that's what it looks like.

The other problem is that it is nearly impossible to truly repair these potholes. I'm sure that you have seen a pothole get filled, and then in a couple weeks it is just as bad as before.

Cars are heavy, trucks are even heavier, a filled pothole is nowhere near as strong as the road before it, because it simply isn't one continuous piece anymore. It is like any other object with a crack in it, fill it with whatever you like, it is going to fail AT THAT POINT, because that is where it is weakest. Any strain on the road will be felt there. You simply have to repave the road.

Plus, keep in mind, roads are stressed like no tomorrow. On a turn, that is thousands of pounds of pressure stressing the road. Remember, when your car has traction, that is because there's an equal and opposite force going against the road.

And looking at my weather forecast for Toronto, it is -5C right now, going up to 2C on Thursday, and -5C on Friday, looks like we're going to have ANOTHER FREEZE THAW CYCLE. Yay, More Potholes!!!

One preventative solution is actually to salt the roads better. Salty water freezes at a lower temperature, and might prevent freezing.

potholes in toronto

The potholes in Toronto it seems are NOT to be fixed. They are temporarily patched until the thaw removes the the filler.QPR is what is used to "fix potholes" Quick Patch it's in the name.We Yes I am involved in this farce of pothole repairs.I read one service request one day and 125 times this ONE pothole was so-called repaired.This material is the little stones you see all along the curb beside the pothole.It is held together with some toxic glue, after a freeze or two it falls apart and we start all over again.There is a lot of money moving around for a little hole that can be fixed for years and years ONE TIME!! There must be a reason we use mostly QPR and when we do use the hot asphalt they force us to use a mix with big stones in it so there will never be a good seal to prevent water to settle and freeze. I will tell you how to REALLY FIX A POTHOLE. and I bet you never see us doing this as you pass by.First you need to remove all loose material in the hole by sweeping or blowing it clean.Then you need to coat the edges and a little overlap on the road and the bottom of the hole with liquid tar.Next you fill the hole with Hot Asphalt.This is made of liquid tar sand and atones.The size of stones vary with different mixes.For a pothole you will need a mix with NO stones in it.The sandy mix seeps in tiny cracks and blends in smoothly.You then fill the hole with Hot Sandy asphalt remembering that you will be compacting it down so leave it a little high The tar on the outside edges with sandy mix will give you a tight seal.Compact it down and let it cool and harden.The job is done and will stay fixed for years and years to come.IT'S NOT THE WORKERS CHOOSES HOW TO DO THE REPAIRS WE ARE TOLD!!! Now it's been going on for so long that most workers don't even remember how to do the correct job.


The solution to potholes (temporary) is to use hotmix to fill the hole rather than cold mix that doesn't bond. The City of London uses our mini-recyclers to re-heat waste asphalt in five minutes to use as hot mix to fill potholes. They were using them 16 hrs a day in the winter.
Long term solution is better construction techniques. A big part of the pothole problem stems from poor construction of joints, where the edge is not compacted and not watertight. We have had a solution to this when Quebec started to spec a hot joint and our infrared heaters allowed re-compaction and a sealed joint. Ontario won't spec a hot joint because they don't want to tell the contractor how to do his job. The contractor won't do it until he is forced to, or paid extra. So we have a stand-off and deteriorating joints.
The City of Hamilton and Region of Halton now spec a hot joint to improve quality. Hopefully more will follow.

DAN!!! everytime i commute

DAN!!! everytime i commute to work on the QEW traffic is always slow around areas where there's potholes. ITS SOOO ANNOYING!!! and they seem to be getting bigger. But I think the fact that they become monstrous potholes is also a result of the constant battery from vehicles and especially transport trucks that drive over them all day long. . . . you think? But DAN!!!! salting roads is bad for the environment!!! with the spring runoff to our great lakes, all the minerals get washed into the water affecting water quality. I heard in places like Alberta, they dont even plow the roads, but just throw sand everywhere for traction. I think in residential areas, that could be a solution. That way, nobody has to dig out their driveway every time the snowplows come around!!!!

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