Long hard winter ending, spring of potholes just beginning

By James Ferguson
April 9, 2014

Chris Watts was driving down University Avenue in Charlottetown recently when it happened.
“I hit a pothole without noticing and the bump was so violent, I almost lost my breath,” he said.
“The bump tore the side right out of my front tire. There was just this giant gouge in the sidewall of the tire. I don’t see this being repaired anytime soon, maybe ever.”
Watts is not alone. Potholes affect many Islanders.
Paul Johnston, public works manager for Charlottetown, said the freeze-thaw cycle caused by this year’s fluctuating temperatures has been tough on the roads.
“It doesn’t take much water in a small, filled crack to freeze at night. Once it does freeze, it expands, pushing everything away. It breaks up the sidewalks or street surface,“ he said.
“There’s nothing the city can do to avoid the extra damage to the roads caused by the sudden temperature change. All we can do for now is ask the Island drivers to be careful.”
Maintaining the city’s roads is costly.
It is estimated Charlottetown will spend $613,200 this year on street repair, with another estimated $18,000 on street resurfacing.
Charlottetown has approximately 235 km of paved streets. The city has a system that monitors the roads. Each street segment is re-evaluated on a three-year cycle under normal circumstances.
This system is used to develop annual resurfacing plans based on a worst-first approach. The city hires private sector firms for resurfacing work.
Patching is undertaken each year by a combination of union and contract forces, with hot-mix asphalt plants generally operating from late May until late October.
The patching concentrates on main routes early in the season and continues on a priority basis.