A series of blown tires from pothole damage is serving as an early warning of the hazard as city crews gear up for what they expect will be a busy pothole season.
“It was cold through the Christmas season and into January, so the frost penetrates deep into the ground,” said City of Terrace public works director Rob Schibli.
“The amount of snow will have an impact as well,” he added, noting that the melting frost and snow will together create more moisture to settle under the concrete and cause erosion.
“We expect it will be a pretty busy year for pothole patching,” he said.
Josiah Bahr, 18, was driving down Kenney Street recently when he hit a large pothole at the bottom of Lanfear Hill.
Now filled in, the pothole looks to be at least two-feet wide, and Bahr says that when he hit it, he rolled to a quick stop.
“Both my tires were blown and one was popped completely off the rim,” he said.
Pronto Towing had already picked up another vehicle at that same spot on Kenney, but owner Tim Fleming says those two have been the only ones they’ve picked up this spring so far.
“It’s still early in the season, the ground is still frozen in most places,” said Fleming.
“Once it starts getting up to two, three, four degrees on an average during the day, and just about freezing at night, then that’s when the potholes really start.”
Kal Tire sales employee Troy Sallenback said they had six vehicles in two days needing tire repair or replacement due to that same large pothole, Feb. 27-28.
That pothole was filled by city crews by the morning of March 1, along with a number of others on Kenney, Lanfear hill, and Thomas Street.
“We try and address (potholes) as promptly as possible,” said Schibli from the city.
“But potholes can take several fillings to be repaired… If it’s really damp, the material doesn’t stay in the hole. It gets pounded out by traffic, so often we are going back to potholes repeatedly before they are stabilized.”
The costs of road repair in Terrace varies every year, but lately the city has spent between $100,000 and $150,000 annually for pothole repairs.