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Local streets in better shape, roads boss says

City filled nearly two-thirds fewer potholes last year compared to 2015

It takes money to keep city streets in good shape and Jordan Wiseman, the city’s roads and fleet manager, says there has been a sustained effort to invest in road maintenance that’s made driving a smoother experience.

“I think the city over the last eight years has recognized that putting some extra money into our road rehabilitation program has paid dividends,” he said.

In 2022, the city reduced its road rehabilitation budget to $5.5 million, down from $5.95 million in 2021. The sidewalk budget was increased to $1.25 million, from $700,000 the previous year. In February, council approved a $6.1 million road budget for 2023.

With winter coming to an end, the pothole patrol is swinging into action.

In 2016, the city bought a portable asphalt recycler, which utilizes chucks of pavement left over from utility digs. The reused asphalt is heated and combined with a binding compound and vegetable oil to produce a hot mix that gets dumped into the patch trucks to fill holes.

"In the next week or so we’ll be firing that up at the Vanway pit,” said Wiseman. “It’s a more permanent solution than our cold patch.”

Cold patches are used in cold or wet weather to temporary fill holes until more permanent fix can be applied once the weather warms. Asphalt in the city typically becomes available in mid-May or early-June.

Wiseman says its two pothole crews have had great success using the recycled mix for a long-lasting results but a lot depends on how dry the hole is when it’s being repaired. Even hot asphalt directly from an industrial paving plant won’t likely stick in a hole that’s wet or frozen.

Last year, the city filled 7,372 potholes after receiving 862 public requests. In 2015, 20,000 potholes were filled after getting 1,604 requests.

Motorists who spot a pothole should call the city at 250-561-7600 or on mobile devices call 311.

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