Flooding hasn’t been the only concern for Kenora’s roads crews this year.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting on August 2 at City Hall, Kenora’s Acting Director of Operations and Infrastructure, Marco Vogrig, explained that with the region’s severe flooding this spring and summer, Kenora’s potholes were ‘overwhelming’ for city crews this year.

“The number and size of potholes were overwhelming this year. So, Fleet, Roads, Engineering and HR were throwing different ideas on how to overcome them,” says Vogrig’s report.

Vogrig explains that crews worked to find and utilize different pothole patching solutions this year, including the use of new materials and procedures, as well as a modification to an old hydraulic vibrator plate packer which is now mounted onto a backhoe, which was deemed effective.

His report states pothole repair work took place on 15 major roadways this year, including Railway Street, Airport Road, East Mellick Road, 5th Street South, Valley Drive, Lakeview Drive and more.

But Councillor Sharon Smith reminded the room that infrastructure is Kenora’s #1 priority in their strategic plan. She says she’d like to see crews focus on preventative work on our roadways to help prevent repeat potholes popping up in multiple locations each year throughout the community.

“It has been extremely challenging,” says Smith, before she thanked staff for their hard work this year. “But the community has been clear that the roads and sidewalks are terrible. That’s what’s tangible and important to them. The work that we did by the Frosted Foods corner was excellent and badly needed.”

“I’m hoping that in the future, we can take a look at those sections of roads in the community that pop up every year that are problematic. Let’s just do the right thing like we did at Frosted Foods: dig it up and repave it, so we’re not going back every year to patch and repair them, and inconveniencing the community. We all know what those sections are. Let’s do it right,” adds Smith.

Vogrig adds that city staff are exploring a new piece of equipment to repair potholes in the future. He says an Asphalt Recycling Unit would allow crews to turn old unusable asphalt into hot asphalt with the use of hot oil, allowing it to be repacked into a pothole. He says it would improve efficiency and costs for the department.

Potholes form as moisture seeps into the pavement and sub-base, which then freezes, expands and thaws. That cycle and ongoing traffic loads weakens the pavement, eventually creating a pothole. They typically develop when temperatures hover around zero degrees.

The City of Kenora says repairs are addressed on a priority and scheduling basis, but on average, the city says they fill most potholes within a 12 to 48-hour period – with repairs taking place much quicker if the pothole is on a main road or priority route.

The city adds in the majority of cases, they will not accept liability for any damages caused by a pothole as the city feels they are exceeding the province’s minimum maintenance standards, which state potholes must be repaired between 4 and 60 days depending on the classification of the roadway.

However, if you feel the damages to your vehicle are the result of negligence on the part of the city, you’re asked to contact Kenora’s Risk Management and Loss Prevention Officer.

Residents are still reminded to use the city's pothole reporting line at 807-467-2334 when they come across an area that needs attention from city crews. You will need to provide the street name, street address, direction and the type of pothole or road deficiency.