Spring pothole season information and advice

Friday, March 18, 2022

Potholes are formed when water gets below the surface of the road through cracks in the pavement and then expands and contracts.

When it’s cold, the water freezes and expands causing the pavement to bend or crack.  Then when the weather gets milder, the ice melts and the pavement contracts, leaving areas where more water can get in.  If this freeze/thaw cycle happens many times, the road can become very weak.

The weight of traffic passing over weakened areas can cause the surface of the road to deteriorate causing potholes.

Due to this freeze/thaw cycle, pothole issues are most common in the late winter and early spring.

How does the City fix potholes?

City crews patch potholes year-round.  Patching efforts typically ramp up during the late winter and early spring periods, as needed.  We currently are in Spring pothole season.

We predominantly use hot mix asphalt patching, cold mix patching or recycled asphalt patching depending on the time of year.

Hot mix patching is the more cost effective form of pothole repair.  However, during the winter, local asphalt plants shut down, therefore cold mix patching and recycled asphalt patching is used based on availability.  Hot mix patching will not be available until after May 1st.

Cold mix can be applied directly under all weather conditions, but is susceptible to road bed movement, vehicle traffic and snow removal operations, often only lasting for short durations of time.

Report a pothole

We develop pothole patching work orders based on information we collect during our road surveys/inspections as well as your Service Request to our Dispatch.  To report a pothole, please call (705) 759-5201 or email pwt@cityssm.on.ca and provide the following information:

  • street name;
  • nearest address; and
  • which lane the pothole is in (right/left lane, north/south lane).

Vehicle damage from potholes

If you have experienced vehicle damage as the result of a pothole, you may file a Notice of Claim (saultstemarie.ca/damageclaims) with the City.  To lessen the chances of pothole damage to your vehicle:

  • reduce speed;
  • maintain optimum tire pressure;
  • keep the steering wheel straight and avoiding sudden braking when encountering a pothole; and
  • try to steer around the pothole safely.
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99 Foster Drive
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 5X6