By David F. Rooney
Ah! It’s spring in Revelstoke. The crocuses and snow drops are blooming. The robins are hunting for bugs to eat and, of course, all the city’s of potholes — both new and old — are revealed for all to see.
The City’s Engineering and Public Works Department has to eventually deal with them but how they do that is probably a mystery to many people.
What is not a mystery is that there are hundreds of them throughout the city — mostly pock-marking residential streets in Lower Town and Southside.
Residential potholes (and this is likely something most people don’t want to hear) are not likely to get fixed anytime soon — unless they actually do swallow a vehicle or two.
The City’s first priority is fixing holes in Revelstoke’s arterial or collector routes such as Victoria Road, Laforme Boulevard, Douglas Street, Fourth Street and Airport Way between Victoria Road and Nichol Road and other major routes. They critical routes used by emergency services.
Residential streets such as King, Front and others in Lower Town or Temple, or Sixth and Seventh Streets in Southside where serious frost heaves and potholes are common are generally of secondary importance.
“We start dealing with (potholes) primarily in February to April,” says Darren Komonoski, the department’s operations manager.”
He said Engineering and Public Works staff conduct impromptu pothole patrols but until the beginning of the usual freeze-thaw cycle begins in February, there isn’t a lot that can be done about any of them until after Easter.
“We can’t get any aggregate or asphalt until after the Tappen plant starts up after Easter,” Komonoski said. “Until we can get what we call a hot mix — that’s fresh asphalt — we have to use bags of… Instant Patch.”
That’s a semi-temporary solution. The permanent solution to the pot hole problem is, even in its simplest form, expensive. Large potholes are best put to rest by cutting out a surrounding section of asphalt and re-paving it. Some of the badly frost-heaved and potholed streets — clearly a sign of seriously aging infrastructure — needed to be repaved almost completely.
But that of course is expensive.
“It does boil down to money,” Komonoski said.
The department has a road maintenance plan that is revisited every year at this time… hey! It’s budget time, isn’t it?
Ah! It’s spring in Revelstoke… and we haven’t even touched on the winter’s accumulation of buried animal waste, have we?