Skip to content

City crews need safe work zones to fill potholes — so slow down, mayor urges

City crews have filled roughly 1,000 potholes so far this year.
A construction sign in Moose Jaw. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

Mayor Clive Tolley is urging motorists to slow down while driving through construction zones so crews can safely repair the streets — including filling the many potholes that plague the community. 

The issue of those pesky, tire-destroying potholes arose during city council’s May 23 regular meeting, as Coun. Dawn Luhning inquired about what city administration’s plan was to fill the numerous road fissures throughout the community. 

“I don’t drive the entire city all the time, but I do notice the same ones are not being filled,” she stated.

The public works department has been patching potholes for several weeks because the hot mix asphalt plant has started producing material, said Bevan Harlton, director of engineering. City crews have also been milling — cutting out — square or rectangular sections of road and making more extensive repairs.

Some streets of focus include Coteau Street West, Ninth Avenue Northwest and sections of Main Street north of the downtown. Meanwhile, crews have filled roughly 1,000 potholes year-to-date.

“I hadn’t heard of anything that’s preventing or holding up our public crew from getting that work done. From our updates, it’s been moving forward pretty efficiently,” added Harlton.

Those crews have been focusing on addressing priority 1 streets because they contain bus routes, said Rod Montgomery, acting director of public works. He also reiterated that staff are milling sections of streets, so instead of filling in numerous potholes in a patchwork manner, they are cutting out parts and leaving behind new squares of asphalt.

The focus on priority 1 streets caught Luhning’s attention, who pointed out that 13th Avenue Northwest from Grace Street to Caribou Street has numerous fissures.

“Hopefully it is on the list because that is a bus route and it is awful,” she added. 

Coun. Doug Blanc recalled attending the recent Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association conference, where he visited a display featuring a cold mix asphalt material that the vendor — who gave the councillor a small bag of material — guaranteed would work in the winter. He wondered if city administration had considered this material.

Harlton replied that he hadn’t investigated alternatives to hot mix asphalt but would consider discussing this new material — and would gladly accept Blanc’s sample.

When asked about potholes during a post-meeting scrum, Mayor Clive Tolley said the city has been running campaigns to encourage motorists to slow down in construction zones. He pointed out that crews erect barricades to work, but motorists regularly disregard them and drive speed through. 

“If there’s a barricade there, it’s for a reason. And we want our employees to be safe and be able to work on our streets and roads and do this patching without being worried somebody’s going to clip them,” he stated. “… it’s supposed to be slow down to 30 km/h.”

Tolley also thought the municipality should investigate using the new cold mix asphalt material in the winter. While the hot mix asphalt plant is now producing material, he pointed out Moose Jaw faces the same dilemma as other municipalities: a lack of money to fix continually deteriorating infrastructure. 

According to the website CanInfra, the infrastructure deficit in Canada averages between $110 billion and $270 billion — or higher in some estimates. 

Moose Jaw is always looking for federal funding for projects but isn’t always successful, such as with its recent application for money for the new outdoor pool rebuild that Ottawa turned down, said Tolley. However, the municipality must always have shovel-ready projects to pursue any funding opportunities that arise. 

The mayor saw his job as attempting to grow the city by encouraging more commercial and industrial businesses to come here so they create jobs and generate revenue through property assessments. Those actions could help Moose Jaw hold its own financially when dealing with infrastructure. 

The next regular council meeting is Monday, June 12. 

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks