It's spring and that means potholes: What you can do about them | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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It's spring and that means potholes: What you can do about them

It's pothole season in Kamloops and the Okanagan with some jurisdictions reporting a higher than normal incidence of them this year.
February 28, 2020 - 8:45 AM

It’s a roadways nuisance that usually hits high season around this time of year- potholes.

Late February’s warming temperatures have started to thaw the ground in places, exacerbating the problem on Kamloops and Okanagan roads.

Kelowna Roadways Construction Supervisor Darin Thompson says potholes form when warmer weather causes water to seep through the cracks in pavement.

It builds up and softens the road base, and when temperatures cool off, the absorbed water freezes and expands, pushing the pavement upward.

“Then the water dries and a hole is left in the roadway,” he explained in an email. “The weakened pavement collapses, leaving a pothole.”

And as if drivers haven't noticed, this is has been a particularly bad year. While municipalities typically look after their own roads, the Ministry of Transportation deals with highways in between.

“Recent freeze-thaw cycles experienced in the Thompson and Okanagan have resulted in a number of potholes on the region’s highways and side roads,” Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Jamie Weiss said in an email. “In the Okanagan in particular, we have seen an increase in the amount of potholes so far this year."

Weiss says the province’s maintenance contractors are continually patrolling the province’s roads and highways for potholes as part of their routine highway maintenance. He says some repairs are temporary until a more permanent repair can be done in more favourable weather.

The two provincially contracted highways maintenance companies that look after roads in the Okanagan and outside of Kamloops - Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance (AIM) and Argo Road Maintenance - did not respond to requests for comment on this year’s pothole maintenance on provincial roads.

If you’ve run over a pothole that damaged your vehicle, don’t expect to be too successful in a lawsuit. Municipalities say it’s difficult to win a lawsuit over a pothole, given the transitory nature of the problem.

Thompson says the best things a motorist can do is slow down when approaching a pothole, and try to avoid driving on a water-covered lane where potholes may lurk submerged.

He also advises not to swerve, and to ensure your tires are properly inflated.

Here’s a look at city pothole policies in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.


The City of Kamloops sees repairing of potholes as an important and affordable method of road maintenance, encouraging the public to report them.

Motorists can report potholes by calling the Civic Operations Centre at 250-828-3461, or by using the MyKamloops mobile app.

The city’s web page says during the winter freeze-thaw events, up to two city crews are operating 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday to patrol and fill potholes.


"January had a period of time we experienced a freeze-thaw cycle and some pretty significant temperature swings. That created many potholes requiring attention from the public works department,” says City of Vernon Communications Manager Christy Poirier.

She says the city is responding to pothole reports all over the city, but so far there is no indication pothole damage is worse overall than previous years.

The city has budgeted approximately $180,000 for potholes this year.

Motorists wishing to report a pothole are advised to contact the city’s public works department through the city website or by calling 250-549-6567.


“This year has been a little busier than normal due to the amount of snow and cold temperatures we have experienced, but has been lighter than this time last year,” Thompson says.

Kelowna spends approximately $550,000 annually on pothole repairs.

To report a pothole, use the service request system at or call city yards at 250-469-8600, Ext.1

“People do file legal claims against the City for pothole damage but are rarely successful because courts recognize municipalities involved with additional services like ice and snow control cannot be everywhere at the same time,” Thompson says.

He says the city would have to have known about the pothole and not done anything to repair it in order to be successful in a suit.

He says no one has been involved in actual court action over potholes in 15 years.

Kelowna’s average response time to repairing a pothole is 48 hours once reported. The city has a mobile asphalt plant that allows repair anytime during the season.


Penticton’s Public Works Manager Len Robson is calling this a typical year for potholes in the Peach City.

“We don’t have a specific pothole budget, we use a few different accounts to charge them to,” he says.

Motorists can report potholes using the city website under the ‘I want to’ tab, choosing 'report an issue,' then go to ‘operations’ to report a pothole.

Motorists can also call in the pothole at 250-490-2500.

"They’ll be fixed as soon as operationally possible,” Robson says, adding the city has had threats of lawsuits over the course of time, but there haven’t been many successful ones.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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