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As snow melts, potholes emerge on Saskatoon roads | CBC News

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With the snow melting in Saskatoon, drivers are facing a different but familiar hazard on the roads: potholes.

And drivers have to stay alert if they want to have a chance of dodging them. 

“You sort of have to drive like a sober drunk,” Saskatoon resident Nancy Street said on Wednesday.

Street said she is worried about getting a flat tire because of the potholes.

“One flat tire is bad. Two flat tires and you’re really stranded,” she said. 

Another driver said he saw potholes everywhere this week, with some roads in terrible conditions. 

“I have seen probably five or six just on my way down here and it was a 10-minute drive,” said Raymond Smith.

Potholes form when water penetrates the asphalt surface of the road. When temperatures drop, this water freezes and expands, causing cracks and forming potholes.

WATCH | It’s pothole season in Saskatoon:

It’s pothole season in Saskatoon

With the snow melting in Saskatoon, drivers are facing a different but familiar hazard on the roads: potholes.

Spot a pothole? Report it 

The City of Saskatoon recommends drivers and residents report potholes through its online interactive pothole map.

The map also helps drivers stay up to date on the potholes that are reported and those that are fixed. 

But what happens once you report a pothole?

Cam LeClaire, roadways manager with the City of Saskatoon, said inspectors go out and look at the pothole and determine its priority. 

They then send a crew to either fill it with gravel or cold mix to do a temporary repair.

Once the weather warms up, crews go back and do permanent repairs with hot mix asphalt on those that need it.

Photo of a pothole with melting snow and a parked car nearby.
Since January, the City of Saskatoon has received about 200 complaints related to potholes. (CBC News)

LeClaire said the city will repair potholes reported as an emergency within two days, while those lower on the priority list may take a few days to be fixed. 

“We encourage people to report them and we’ll get out there and get them topped up as soon as we can,” he said. 

LeClaire said the city has received about 200 pothole-related reports since January. 

Claims for damages

For damages caused by a pothole, LeClaire said a driver can report a claim either through their insurance or on the city’s website. A claims group will then look over the report and determine liability. 

“Those details are looked at on a case-by-case basis through that claims process,” he said.  

However, SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy said the city rarely covers damages caused by potholes. 

“The overall number of pothole claims that happen, in the overwhelming majority of them, the customer who makes the claim ends up paying the deductible,” he said. 

McMurchy said potholes will be more common at this time of year due to the freezing and thawing cycles. 

To avoid potholes, he cautions drivers to travel at an appropriate speed, leave enough distance between vehicles to see the road clearly and avoid puddles, as they may cover objects that can impact the wheels of the vehicles. 

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