The roads of Toronto are severely damaged after the recent harsh winter set new high records of cold temperatures and mass snowfalls. The potholes and road quality have been so severe the past few winter months, daily commuters are being affected.
Our last winter season in Toronto was a record-setting one. The extreme snowfall on Monday, Jan.17 set the record for Toronto’s biggest snowfall in a single day, defeating the previous record set in 1944. Thirty-six centimetres of snow had fallen by 2 p.m. on that January day a few months ago.
According to Toronto.ca road damage can occur from water seeping into any exposed pre-existing cracks that lifts the asphalt from the road, resulting in potholes.
Roads in Toronto are re-evaluated every 20 years after they’re built, according to Toronto.ca. Although filling a pothole is a quick fix only taking up to 20 minutes to complete, it is difficult to fill potholes in the winter seasons because the asphalt cools so quickly. However, there is a temporary fix for patching the potholes in the winter with a cold asphalt mix to improve road safety.
However, the number of potholes in Toronto has been increasing for some time now. Or, perhaps they’re being filled less frequently.
(Data from Toronto.ca)
This data shows the City Of Toronto has filled significantly less potholes in the time frame of Jan. 1 to Apr. 6, in the last two years compared to prior years, and less than half since 2018. In January of 2018, 39, 847 potholes were filled. At the same time this year, just 6, 706 potholes were filled.
According to data retrieved by the Toronto Star, pothole complaints were the number one complaint to 311 by Toronto citizens.
Potholes have become a major issue for commuters. Daily commuter Charlotte Tenzen says she relies on cycling as her form of travel and is becoming worried for her safety.
“There have been times where I have had to make the decision between quickly changing my course on a bicycle to avoid a large pothole, which endangers my safety by forcing me into traffic, or hitting a pothole that could throw me from my bike,” Tenzen says.
Tenzen says she is joined by cyclists and other commuters have been vocal about the road quality and safety, and that something needs to be done.
“At this point, it appears to be a lack of political will to make biker and commuter safety more of a priority,” Tenzen says.