Summer pothole problems across Ottawa
The City of Ottawa said it has filled more than 183,000 potholes in 2019; while drivers complain of damage to their cars and trucks.
“I haven’t seen that many cars come in here with a bent rim or a bubble on the sidewall of the tire,” said mechanic Albert Saikaley. “It's just doing a lot of damage… Absolutely 100% caused by potholes.”
Saikaley said he’s never seen so many cars come into his Hintonburg shop, DiRienzo and Saikaley Automotive Service in years. Saikaley said potholes have resulted in significant damage to wheels, bearing and suspension systems; changing more wheel bearings in 6 months than the last three years combined.
“The potholes in our city are destroying customers’ cars,” said Saikaley. “Cars are coming in here unsafe to drive.” Saikaley attributed much of the damage to potholes wreaking havoc on vehicles to cheaper, less-reliable parts in cars and trucks.
Customers like Joseph Borrello were frustrated; Borrello brought his Honda Civic to the shop moments after hitting a pothole.
“I was driving down Innes Road and the whole road is just filled with potholes and I hit one and now I need a new ball-bearing,” said Borrello.
Other drivers had similar stories of repairs and replacement. Kelly Adams recently had a wheel alignment and replaced the tires on his Jeep. “100-percent had to do with potholes,” he said.
Across the city, drivers complained of car-wrecking craters. The city said it saw a 5-percent increase in pothole repairs from the average the last three years.
“There were 75 freeze thaw cycles last season which meant that our roads were constantly battered by changing conditions with little opportunity to repair potholes between the cycles,” said Laila Gibbons, City of Ottawa’s Director of Road Services.
“Filling potholes remains a priority for staff. We continue to have all available staff performing summer maintenance, which includes pothole repairs. We have also been working on new pothole repair technology; earlier this year we piloted the Python 5000 to see how it might complement our current work,” said Gibbons.
Some drivers, like Dan Fyfe who moved to Ottawa from Toronto, experienced several close calls or crashes along Vanier Parkway, believing they resulted from drivers trying to avoid potholes.
“I think there's a lot of accidents that take actually place on Vanier parkway. I've witnessed about 5 of them, and I’ve been here for about 6 months. So I think that due to the potholes it's creating a lot of accidents that take place on a daily basis,” said Fyfe.
Saikaley said drivers should routinely take their vehicles to a mechanic; especially if they hear irregular noises or experience issues with steering and balance.