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Scratched Suspensions: Pothole season hits Canada

Ottawa, Ontario – It’s pothole season, and Canadian drivers are sighing again.

There may have been fewer potholes reported in Toronto this past winter season, but those reported were also filled at a slower rate, according to open data from the City of Toronto.

“There are fewer potholes filled so far this year compared to the same period in 2021 because Transportation Services staff were focused on winter maintenance services for approximately five weeks following the record-breaking snowstorm on Jan. 17,” said Mark Mills, a manager at Toronto Transportation Services.

For the uninitiated, potholes are created when water enters the pavement as the asphalt expands and shrinks with the weather. Over time, the frozen water underneath pushes the asphalt out, creating a pothole on the road.

The city has yet to announce this year’s pothole repair blitz, which typically takes place between February to March. This may lead to more vehicles with pothole damage, such as tire punctures, bent suspensions or surface damage.

Toronto isn’t the only locale struggling to keep up with road maintenance–it’s a cross-Canada issue. A recent Globe and Mail article headline summarizes Canadian’s opinions in one sentiment: Should we tire of the beaver, potholes could become our national symbol.

On the East Coast, maritime drivers are dealing with a similarly rocky situation. According to a February report from the CBC New Brunswick, repairs made on Fredericton roads just aren’t lasting like they used to.

“We’re into freezing cycles earlier, with the frost in the ground as deep as it is and the warm temperatures melting everything on top, that’s really weakening the structure and leaving us in the position we’re in right now,” Mike Walker, manager of roads and streets at the city, told the CBC. “We’re not getting the lift out of [the asphalt] we would necessarily expect.”

Walker says roads built 20 years ago still show integrity, but others built more recently are showing problems.

“This is an issue that is experienced by many jurisdictions,” he said.

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