The number of potholes currently in Langley Township can be described in one word: “Plentiful.”
That’s according to Brian Edey, the roads operations manager.
“It’s definitely more than the typical,” said Edey on Tuesday. “We are experiencing some local roads that are having some major heaving.”
Frost heaves have done some damage in parts of Brookswood and in Aldergrove along 33A Avenue as well as other locations, Edey said.
Langley City is in a better position so far with its pothole issues.
“Not a dramatic increase,” said Kyle Simpson, the City’s manager of engineering operations.
The City will be following its normal system of responding to potholes, said Simpson.
For both City and Township, that means patching up the potholes as best they can with either hot mix or cold mix asphalt.
The hot mix is more permanent, said Simpson, but it works best if applied when the temperature is above 10° Celsius. It also needs to be dry.
A combination of warm and dry weather hasn’t been seen recently in the Langleys, so cold mix is being used as a temporary measure in most cases.
Cold mix can degrade and be broken up more quickly than hot mix.
In the Township, the road crews are doing “triage,” taking care of the most dangerous or largest potholes as fast as they can, said Edey.
Usually those are quick fixes to get the road through to the spring.
The budget for potholes is usually set at about $100,000 to $125,000 every year, Edey said. This year the cost may get as high as $200,000, but there’s flexibility to use some money from other paving projects to fix things up now.
In the City, Simpson said there aren’t enough potholes above the normal level to cause any budget issues.
The worst potholes and damage are caused by frost heaves, especially where two sections of road are thawing at different temperatures, said Edey.
The cause of the extra potholes was the long cold snap, which saw local road maintenance crews working extra hours through late December and into mid-January.
The Township began running low on salt, despite quadrupling its stockpiles compared to a few years ago.
Once the season is almost over, Edey said a report will go to the Township council. It may include recommendations to increase the salt stockpile again.
“We’re definitely looking into that,” Edey said.
The report is tentatively scheduled to be presented at the March 27 council meeting.