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Patching potholes: Tri-City workers prioritizing dozens of reports to resurface roads

Surprising snowfall and following inclement weather have led to calls to refill crevasses of all sizes in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
A warning sign is placed on Ioco Road in Port Moody, next to the recreation centre, alerting commuters of potholes as workers resurface the blacktop.

Potholes — potentially a driver's worst nightmare if caught unexpectedly.

At fast speeds, a pothole can easily pop a tire, damage the underbelly of a vehicle or cause issues to its structural integrity.

The Tri-Cities endured several snowfall events in recent weeks. A subsequent atmospheric river event followed and has since uncovered dozens of potholes of all sizes, prompting local residents to call their municipality for repair.

Potholes pop up when water gets into cracks in the asphalt following periods of freezing and thawing, and as vehicles drive over the weak spots, the road collapses.

Larger ones are formed when water seeps in between layers and into the ground underneath, then freezes.

To assess the situation, the Tri-City News reached out to the cities of Port Moody, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam to find out how workers are operating under the current circumstances.


Signs have popped up along major Port Moody streets, like Ioco Road near the recreation complex, alerting commuters of workers conducting emergency pothole repairs underway.

As of this publication (Jan. 14), there have been 35 pothole complaints in eight neighbourhoods across the city since the start of 2022.

And more is likely to be reported considering the shift to above 0 C temperatures and periods of rain in the forecast causing more snowmelt and potential road damage.

Jeff Moi, Port Moody's general manager of engineering and operations, explained all potholes are in the process of being refilled, but are prioritized and sequenced based on factors that include size and location.

"When a pothole is reported, city staff will visit the site and do an assessment [...] then work to repair in priority sequence," he said.

"Typically a temporary repair is completed; permanent repairs must often wait for warmer and drier weather. As winter conditions continue, we encourage people to use extra caution and slow down when driving."

Port Moody city staff were called to repair potholes in 26 different locations all of last year.

To report a pothole in the City of the Arts, residents can:


Through the first 10 days of January, Port Coquitlam city hall received 25 pothole reports in its vicinity.

If that were to continue, this means PoCo would get more than 900 related calls in 2022.

In 2021, the city had a total of 850 pothole inquiries from local residents.

Public works and engineering director Josh Frederick said PoCo will continue to rely on the public in hopes of restoring roads across all seasons.


Thus far, 18 potholes have been reported to Coquitlam through the first two weeks of 2022.

Last year, the city responded to about 600 calls for potholes, director of public works Brad Lofgren said.

He acknowledged that more are likely out there as temperatures improve, adding the ground is "frozen quit deep" given the below seasonal weather the city endured in recent weeks.

"[...] as it thaws moisture that is currently in the frozen ground starts to come out, which can break up the asphalt in the process.

"Repairs can vary from spot repairs to patching of areas in the case of more widespread damage, which is typically undertaken when weather conditions improve. In the case where more widespread patching will be undertaken, temporary repairs to make the situation safe will be performed until the permanent repairs can be completed."

Lofgren explained, however, Coquitlam's public works division receives many reports of apparent potholes that turn out to be material fractures on a blacktop when the top lift break up.

He said these are a low risk to damaging vehicles and are "not urgent" compared to confirmed potholes across the city.

"In the case of a true pothole, there is a penetration right through the asphalt into the road base, which can begin to degrade quite quickly.

"Once a report is received, crews are dispatched to assess the damage and will repair immediately if the issue is actually a pothole."

Here's how to report a pothole to Coquitlam city hall: