City getting new asphalt, changing pothole repair protocols

The City of Ottawa is changing the way it repairs potholes, according to a memo sent out to city councillors late Friday afternoon.

This comes following a November audit in which Auditor General Ken Hughes found the City hadn’t been testing asphalt to make sure it's adequate. Two samples, pulled by the auditor's office, both failed to meet the proper criteria.

According to the memo, signed by GM of Public Works & Environmental Services Kevin Wylie, the contract with the supplier of the City’s winter asphalt was terminated and a new provider was found.

The asphalt used during the 2017-18 winter season met City specifications.

Wylie also said in his memo that some changes have been made to how and when potholes are repaired during the winter.

One of the changes includes what Wylie called a “two-pronged approach” that included cold-patch and hot-patch materials to make sure “appropriate materials are used in all weather conditons,” which would help repairs last longer.

Wylie also said there will be a renewed focus on winter pothole repairs during days when there is not a lot of snowfall, and the City is extending its pilot project to test the Python 5000 Pothole Patcher in cold weather. The test is expected to end by late April.

When it comes to summer asphalt, the City’s Supply Services department issued letters of non-compliance to asphalt vendors and terminated the contract for hot-mix asphalt in December.

A new contract is expected to be awarded in May.

Wylie says the City is also going to be participating in a Canada-wide project led by the Transportation Association of Canada, to develop better practices for pothole repair.

“This project will provide an opportunity for greater collaboration across Canadian municipalities, as well as offer new and innovative approaches for responding appropriately to the challenges of the rapidly-changing Canadian climate,” Wylie said.