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‘They’re too big’: potholes frustrating Manitoba drivers

As an unseasonably warm winter comes to an end in Winnipeg, a familiar sight is present again on Winnipeg roads.

According to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), 406 pothole-related claims came in last month compared to last February, when there were only 86.

March may also be a bad month for pothole claims, MPI said in the first 11 days, there have already been 98 claims while last March, there were 204 in the entire month.

“There’s so many potholes,” said Tania Munjoma. “And I’m just scared my car is going to die or something with these potholes. They’re too big.”

Dan Roller, manager of Penner Auto Body said the impact of potholes on a vehicle can be costly.

“We’re seeing damage on the wheel itself, sometimes a tire will blow out,” he said. “Depending on what kind of angle it hits the pothole, the rim can get damaged.”

The City of Winnipeg said it has already patched 1,500 potholes since Friday, and crews are out fixing many more.

Potholes are seen on Portage Avenue on March 11, 2024. (Jon Hendricks/CTV News Winnipeg)

However, crews can only use the cold mix to fill potholes, which can’t provide a repair that lasts as long as the hot asphalt mix used in the summer.

“The asphalt plants are not open yet,” said Michael Cantor, manager of street maintenance for the City of Winnipeg. “ They’re waiting for the winter to end. There’s no really financial incentive to open those plants earlier for the amount that we’re using.”

But not all hope is lost.

University of Manitoba professor Ahmed Shalaby said it’s still possible for the city to have a relatively good pothole season.

“Optimistically we had a better than usual winter, milder temperatures less moisture we can expect better performance from our pavements,” he said.

Shalaby said, however, that it all depends on the weather in the coming weeks, saying too many freeze-thaw cycles will result in more potholes being formed.

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