Those darn potholes – and what Tri-Cities are doing about them

Make a complaint, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody crews will repair; holes made as roads crumble under weather's onslaught

Hate potholes? Get in line.

Tri-City works crews are fielding dozens of complaints from drivers about potholes and they say they’re fixing them as fast as they can.

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Those nasty depressions can cause vehicle damage so Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody are asking people to report them by phone, email or city apps to make sure they get taken care of as quickly as possible.

“The safety of our residents is our number-one priority and so we encourage the public to let us know if they see a pothole,” Jeff Moi, Port Moody’s general manager of engineering and operations, said in an email to The Tri-City News.

Read on to find links, apps to report potholes 

Here’s how the pothole numbers stack up:

• Coquitlam has received 65 complaints so far this year and has filled in 300, including those it found during road checks.

• Port Coquitlam has repaired 150 and has received 16 calls since Jan. 1.

• And Port Moody repaired 38 potholes in 2019, 16 so far this year.

Pothole fills up with rain
Potholes are a driving hazard. - Tri-City News File

All cities report their crews are surveying roads for damage and repairing any potholes they find.

According to Port Moody’s Moi, potholes are often filled with temporary asphalt during bad weather as well as being repaired on an ongoing basis. Permanent repairs, however, have to wait for warm, dry weather.

Sometimes, potholes need more than one repair before they are filled, especially during poor weather.

“Pothole repairs are prioritized based on safety," Moi said. "If a pothole is creating a significant safety hazard, we’ll repair that one first. Once we’re made aware of a pothole, we’ll repair it as soon as possible during normal business hours. Some repairs may take less than 30 minutes while larger repairs may take several hours.”

The combination of rainy weather and below-zero temperatures can be blamed for the problem because potholes are created when moisture gets in between two layers of asphalt, freezes and expands, breaking up the pavement.

In Port Coquitlam, these conditions have generated a “significant” number of potholes, according to Forrest Smith, the city's director of engineering and public works.

 

Similarly, in Coquitlam, rainy weather makes things worse.

“This is one of the key reasons we perform crack-sealing operations, because it prevents a large amount of water from being able to penetrate the surface of the asphalt to avoid these issues from developing,” said Brad Lofgren, Coquitlam's director of public works.

Highways are facing their own pothole problems and the provincial Ministry of Highways has information on its website about the issue, noting that unless negligence can be proved, damage claims aren’t payable. 

Best advice? Avoid those potholes and then report them.

Here’s how:

• Port Coquitlam: online at portcoquitlam.ca/report, via the PoCo Waste App or by phone at 604-927-3111. 

• Port Moody: Contact operations customer service at operations@portmoody.ca for response during normal business hours or call 604-469-4574, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

• Coquitlam: Call 604-927-3500 or email epw@coquitlam.ca, or connect online via a customer feedback form available at www.coquitlam.ca/contact or through the city’s app (CoquitlamConnect) by selecting the Customer Service button.

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