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Pothole numbers on the rise this year

If you think your drive into work is bumpier than usual, you’re right.

Toronto city officials say the number of potholes on city roads has increased this year.

“Our information seems to indicate our pothole count has increased over last year and we seem to be tracking similar to what we were tracking in 2011 where it was more of a typical winter,” Toronto’s director of transportation services Peter Noehammer told CityNews.

Last year the city repaired 170,000 potholes at a cost of $3.5-million. Should this year be consistent with 2011, 210,000 potholes will be repaired at a price tag of $4-million.

Noehammer said this week they have dispatched 25 to 30 repair crews, which is an increase from the average of 15 crews.

Part of the problem is the yo-yo weather the city has experienced over the last few months.

“In January we saw some pretty dramatic swings in temperatures where we saw double digit fluxes in high and low temperatures,” Noehammer explained.

The rapid switch from mild to freezing temperatures increases the possibility of potholes as water that penetrates the asphalt expands when it freezes and then leaves a void when it melts, causing structural weaknesses.

A climate change study presented to city hall in January warned council of the effect extreme weather can have on the city’s aging infrastructure – including road erosion and structural damage to the Gardiner Expressway.

“The fluctuations in temperatures spark a thaw and freeze cycle that actually pops concrete off of rebar and starts the rust process,” Coun. Adam Vaughan said in reaction to the study’s findings.

The average amount spent per year on pothole repair in the GTA is between $4-million to $5-million however Norhammer says the amount is quite a bit higher this year than last year.

Potholes can be reported to the city by calling 311.

– With files from 680News