First the Good News, Thunder Bay is Fixing Potholes

Fixing the potholes at Marina Park. The parking lot has been like a minefield for vehicles for the past year.
Fixing the potholes at Marina Park.
Fixing the potholes at Marina Park. The parking lot has been like a minefield for vehicles for the past year.
Fixing the potholes at Marina Park. The parking lot has been like a minefield for vehicles for the past year.

Spring means Construction Season

THUNDER BAY – Pothole repairs have started. Thunder Bay has dispatched crews to fix the countless potholes on our city streets and roadways.

First the good news, the City of Thunder Bay has a Pothole Portal on the City Website. Visit POTHOLE REPORT. Crews are out patching the countless potholes across the city, and that is good news.

Report a pothole and the city will then dispatch a crew who will fix the pothole.

Now the bad news, all these repairs are temporary fixes. Using the cold patch method, and tamping down the fill with a shovel or by foot isn’t going to make for a permanent repair.

Putting cold patch material into a pothole is likely to simply fill the hole for a bit. A real repair takes doing it properly.

There are many newer methods, used successfully in Europe for years, Aquaphalt is the first pre-mixed, permanent repair material that is enduring, high-performing and 100% environmentally friendly. Aquaphalt’s proprietary “green” binder reacts and hardens with solely water—unlike other asphalt patching products available on the market today containing toxic petroleum-based solvents with volatile organic compounds. And Aquaphalt can be laid directly from its container, so no repeat repairs or overhead costs are required. In today’s economy, eliminating additional equipment, material and labor costs for the same lasting repair is a top priority.

While other cold patch products claim durability and immediate set-up, if you’ve ever stepped in a utility cut while crossing the street that resembled a rocky sludge, you know the other products remain pliable far beyond application. On top of that, those fillers must eventually be replaced by permanent pavement materials. Only Aquaphalt sets-up fast and permanently for superior results. From potholes to manholes and utility cuts to driveways and tennis courts, in the world of asphalt and concrete, we’ve learned that stable base materials plus enduring binders equal unlimited potential for all of our customers.

How to Really Repair Potholes

The real solution would be to improve the standard that the city puts in place to build roads.

Putting down a deeper and more compacted road bed that the surface goes on top of is a first step. It would cost more, in the initial stages, but it would save a lot of money in the long run.


New York has far more depth to their roads.
New York has far more depth in the asphalt on their roads.

Another solution could be found in how the City of Winnipeg does their streets.

This image is of Rouge Road in Winnipeg. It is a roadway that has remained as is for the past forty years.

Rouge Road in Winnipeg = Concrete last longer.
Rouge Road in Winnipeg = Concrete last longer.

In Winnipeg the roadways are often poured concrete that is reinforced. That method of making a road means far less potholes, and a lot less maintaining the roadway or re-surfacing.

Solving Infrastructure Issues Means Saving Money

Infrastructure issues in the city mean more than just spending money. They mean getting the most value for those investments.

In Thunder Bay, as we have seen with the growing demand for pothole repair, coupled with the growing issues with our infrastructure, streetlights falling down in the Fort William Business District, and now rust and welds failing apart. The City Council needs to be putting more pressure on City Administration to get things done right.

Based on recent incidents, perhaps too much focus has been on issues not directly related to the needed work on our streets and infrastructure. Residents are expecting the best value from their tax dollars. Leaving the hard-working seniors at the Fix-It Club out in the wings for months on end, and threatening to pull equipment from the Youth Centre in downtown Fort William and putting the blame on the snow clearing budget is a clear indication of problems inside City Hall.

Thunder Bay can do better, much better.

It is increasingly appearing that some of the procedures and policies in place need to be re-visited and likely revised. Otherwise there could be something that will happen where someone will be hurt.

Lets hope that happens sooner rather than later.

James Murray

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