The City of Hamilton continues to monitor for potholes after the freeze-thaw cycle combined with the rainfall we’ve had in the past few weeks has made for a particularly severe pothole season.
If you spot a pothole, the City is asking that call 905-546-CITY (2489) to inform them of the location so that they can patch it.
Public works has dedicated staff to pinpoint trouble spots on an electronic map for repair crews to know where to patch. The timeline for those patch fixes all depends on the priority that the road is given by the City.
- Potholes that are at least eight centimeters deep must be filled within 4 days on a Class 1 road (eg. The Red Hill Valley Parkway) and Class 2 road (eg. Main Street West)
- Class 5 is considered a residential street. These repairs are required to take place within 30 days
How does the City fix potholes?
METHOD 1: HOTBOX
The “hotbox” method uses leftover asphalt mixed together with additives to allow it to be heated and then compacted over the pothole to fill it. The compacting is usually done with a vehicle, such as a truck. It isn’t left completely flat however, there is usually a crown on the compacted patch between 3 and 6 mm.
METHOD 2: COLD PATCH
The “cold patch” method, as it’s name implies, does not require heat. Instead, small bits of asphalt are put into the pothole and pressed into it without applying heat. It is a ‘quick fix’ temporary solution until the pothole can be properly patched. The problem with this method is that as cars drive over the hole, bits of the filler break off and scatter on the road. You may have noticed this when driving over a ‘patched’ pothole and noticing lots of small rock-like bits of asphalt kicking up into your tire well.
Potholes Can Damage Your Vehicle
Hitting a pothole is a bigger deal than you might think and can have dangerous and costly implications. Potholes can damage your rims, which could lead to cracks, tire leaks, issues with steering, suspension damage, and more.
In 2017, there were 105 claims of pothole damage in Hamilton, 78 in 2016 and 197 in 2015.
If your car becomes damaged due to one, you can make a claim by sending a letter to:
City of Hamilton, Risk Management Services
21 King St. W., Suite 1101
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4W7
Or fax it to: 905-540-5744
Your letter should include:
- The exact location of the pothole or road hazard
- When the incident happened
How Potholes Are Formed
Potholes are caused from rainwater, extreme changes of temperature, and traffic driving over the asphalt. This is why busy main roads are more prone to having a lot of potholes.
Water from the rain weakens the soil beneath the pavement and the cars driving over the top of the asphalt applies a lot of load and stress which causes it to give way and collapse, forming what appears to be a hole or dip in the road.
If left unmaintained, they can grow larger as more cars drive over them, causing further parts of the asphalt that have cracked to fall off or come loose.