Pothole & Utility Cut Repairs
Once the snow melts and the hot asphalt mix is available for use in the spring, the City begins its annual spring pothole blitz. City and private crews head out in full force to patch potholes across the city, beginning with potholes in driving lanes along high-traffic priority streets. Residential pothole patching follows behind the City-wide Street Sweeping schedule and potholes are repaired across the width of the street, where accessible.
Pothole Repairs - Frequently Asked Questions
When does the Spring Blitz begin?
The Spring Blitz begins in April, as soon as the hot-asphalt material is available.
How can I report a pothole?
Drivers and residents can report a pothole with our online Report a Pothole interactive map or call our customer service centre at 306-975-2476. Please call if it is an emergency and has the potential to cause damage or injury.
How do I use the online Report a Pothole map?
When safe to do so, access the Report a Pothole online map from any device with an internet connection. From there, you can enter an address using the magnifying glass, use the GPS locator or click on a point in the map where the pothole is located. If you need to adjust the location, click Cancel in the form box and click on a new point. Once you complete the form with details about the pothole, a red dot will appear. Once the pothole is repaired, the dot will appear green. Full step by step instructions.
How long will it take to repair a pothole once they are reported?
New locations are inspected and rated to determine priority. Potholes that cause concern in the driving lanes of high-traffic (priority) streets will be repaired with a higher priority. Potholes with the potential for causing damage are considered an emergency and will be repaired as quickly as possible. For a pothole emergency, please call the customer service centre to report the location at 306-975-2476.
In some cases, what is reported as a pothole is actually a Utility Cut that has been filled in with gravel until it can be permanently repaired. A Utility Cut is the excavation required to repair, connect or maintain underground utilities (water, sewer, natural gas, power, telephone, etc.). Roads, sidewalks and landscaping damaged by a Utility Cut in the winter are filled with gravel until permanent repairs can begin in the summer. The square or rectangular-shaped holes on high-traffic streets are maintained regularly; however, heavy traffic and temperature changes can cause the gravel to sink. Deficiencies can be reported by calling Public Works Customer Service at 306-975-2476.
You may check the status of repairs for a utility cut on our Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules map. The map is updated regularly and includes locations scheduled for up to four weeks.
Crews were repairing potholes on a priority street, but why didn't they repair all of them, including some big ones?
In order to quickly address the potholes on priority streets that are affecting traffic, crews are repairing the potholes within the driving lanes first. Once the crews are caught up on the high-traffic streets, they will return to address concerns in the areas along the curb or in parking lanes.
What are considered "Priority Streets"?
Priority 1 streets include freeway; access to fire halls, hospitals and ambulance sites; and major roads such as 8th Street and 22nd Street. Priority 2 streets include rapid transit bus routes and busy roads such as Broadway Avenue, Fairlight Drive and 37th Street.
Which potholes get fixed first?
Potholes are rated on the following criteria: size, location (driving lane, curb lane); priority class of street; and how hazardous the pothole is for drivers. Locations are developed for each crew's area that allows them to repair the potholes in an orderly manner.
I have damage on my car from a pothole. Who do I report the damage to and how do I make a claim against the City to pay for it?
If you have damage to your vehicle, you should contact your insurance provider. Report a claim for vehicle damage.
What causes potholes?
If moisture gets into cracks in the pavement, and then freezes and expands, the pressure that is created causes the asphalt to break away, resulting in a pothole. Vehicles driving over a pothole can cause the edges to crumble, which increases the size.
Why is that big pothole filled with gravel, instead of being paved?
What you are seeing likely isn't a pothole. Potholes are always repaired with asphalt. Holes created in the roadway for underground work, called Utility Cuts, are filled with gravel and then scheduled for paving after the underground work is completed.
Why doesn’t the City fix potholes in the winter?
The City does repair potholes and utility cuts in the winter; however, during the winter, the fixes can only be temporary. This is because the best way to repair holes or utility cuts is by using a hot-mix asphalt, which can only be produced in warmer temperatures. In the winter, potholes and utility cuts are maintained with gravel and recycled asphalt. This temporary mix may shift or settle during a freeze/thaw cycle. The utility cut cannot be properly fixed until the frost is largely out of the ground, and hot-mix asphalt can be used.
Will the fixes be permanent or will the potholes come back?
For pothole and utility cut repairs to be effective, daytime temperatures must be consistent at +2 degrees celcius range or warmer. When temperatures fall at night, hot-mix asphalt can neither be produced nor placed effectively. Repairs are most effective when conducted during the warmest part of the day.
The reality is that changing temperatures and ground conditions can result in potholes forming within hours or occurring next to areas previously repaired. This is not uncommon in our climate. Crews will be re-visiting sites where potholes re-emerge.
A Utility Cut is an excavation required to connect, repair or maintain underground utilities that are often located more than eight feet deep beneath the roadway surface. Utility Cuts have straight edges and can range in size from one foot to more than 10 feet wide, and are filled with gravel. These are not considered potholes and are repaired under a separate program. Roads sidewalks and landscaping affected by a Utility Cut are filled with gravel until restoration occurs between May and October.
Check the status of repairs on our Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules map.
Utility Cuts - Frequently Asked Questions
There is a large rectangular-shaped hole in front of my home. Why was this done?
Roads, sidewalks and landscaping damaged by a Utility Cut are filled with gravel until restoration occurs between May and October. A Utility Cut is the excavation required to access underground utilities (water, sewer, natural gas, power, telephone, etc.). You may check the status of repairs for a utility cut on our Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map. The map is updated regularly and includes locations scheduled for up to four weeks.
How do I learn more about water main breaks, what causes them and what to expect when there is a break?
The City supplies water to homes and business through underground pipes. These pipes can break from time to time. When this happens, staff will come out and close valves in the street to stop the flow of water until the pipe can be repaired. During this period, your home or business may not have running water. Learn more about Water Main Breaks and Repairs.
The sidewalk or road where the excavation occurred is unsafe. Who do I contact?
Once the excavation occurs, barricades and signage are in place to keep pedestrians and vehicles away from any hazards. They are removed once a temporary or permanent patch occurs. On occasion, weather and heavy traffic can cause the repair to fail. Please report an unsafe road, sidewalk or lawn to our customer service representatives at 306-975-2476. A supervisor will inspect the location and, if required, replace barricades and/or schedule it for maintenance or repair.
Paving, concrete and landscaping work can only occur during construction season (usually May to October, weather permitting).
My lawn, sidewalk, driveway, etc. was damaged by a utility cut for an underground repair or installation. Will the City fix it?
The City of Saskatoon tracks all utility cut locations and will repair damage to private property that is a direct result of excavations done by the City or its designate and restore it to its previous condition. This includes replacing underground sprinklers, lawn, planting beds, driveways, sidewalks, curbs, etc. In some cases, a maximum reimbursement cost applies to specialty driveways, paving stones and beds on private property
Do I have to submit a claim to the City for damages, or will it automatically be repaired?
The City will automatically schedule the road paving and public sidewalk replacement required as a result of a utility cut.
In order for your private property to be repaired, the home owner must contact our customer service call centre at 306-975-2476. A program coordinator will follow up with the home owner to discuss options for replacement and repairs. Advance notice will be provided for any work that may impact the home owner or resident.
Restoration work can only be done from May to October and is weather dependent. This solely depends on weather, ground conditions, sod availability and equipment.
When can I expect the excavation to be permanently repaired?
Paving, concrete and landscaping work can only occur during construction season (usually May to October, weather permitting). You may check the status of repairs for a utility cut on our Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map. The map is updated regularly and includes locations scheduled for up to four weeks.
Road paving, sidewalk replacement or boulevard area (where applicable) need to be restored before any landscaping restoration can occur. Most of this work is weather dependant and can be delayed by excessive rain.
For more information about your utility cut, please call our customer service call centre at 306-975-2476.
There is a utility cut on my street, but it is not showing on the Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map at saskatoon.ca. Will it still be repaired?
The locations on the Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map are ones that the City is responsible for repairing that occurred after January 2012. They represent locations where a permit was issued for the excavation or an excavation that was required for City work. If a location is not on this map, then it may be the responsibility of a private developer, or it may be a pothole.
In some cases, if conditions are too wet when a utility cut is paved, the paving can fail and need to be repaired again. In this case, it would have been removed from the map when it was repaired. To report a dangerous location, please call our customer service call centre at 306-975-2476 or use the Report a Pothole interactive map.
Can my utility cut repair be given preferential consideration? I am selling my home, hosting a wedding at my home, etc.
In order to be efficient and restore the most locations through the limited construction season, the landscaping, concrete and paving programs must all be coordinated.
Although we sympathize with your situation, there are broad-reaching impacts to moving to a location out of the scheduled order. To discuss alternate options please contact our customer service call center at 306-975-2476 to speak to a program coordinator.
A utility cut repair was scheduled for today on the Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map and the workers did not arrive. What should I do?
The schedule for paving, concrete and landscaping is updated regularly on the Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map. , but is also dependant on the weather. Notification will be provided to the affected home 3-5 days in advance in the form of note in the mailbox or on the door advising of the date work is to occur for concrete and landscaping. In some cases, the work will take several days or require multiple visits, depending on the type of work.
If some of the restoration work has been completed but the sod remains to be placed, the delay may be caused by unforeseen circumstances, such as inclement weather.
If you were provided with notice for work to begin and it did not occur without further communications, please check the Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map for an updated schedule or call our customer service call center at 306-975-2476.
Landscaping and lawn
My sprinklers were repaired but they are sticking out of the ground/ being held up with posts. Why where they left like this?
Sprinklers are usually repaired in early spring so home owners can water their existing lawns/plants until landscaping restoration can be complete. Once all landscaping is complete, the underground sprinklers will be permanently installed.
My lawn was dug up for a utility cut; how will this be repaired?
City crews will schedule and replace the portion of lawn or landscaping that was damaged during the excavation and underground work process. Notification will be provided to the affected home 3-5 days in advance, in the form of note in the mailbox or on the door, advising of the date work is to occur for concrete and landscaping. Instructions will be provided to avoid watering lawn adjacent to the affected area.
For yards with shrubs, xeriscaping and other specialty landscaping, the City will replace the topsoil and level out the damaged area to match the grade, and reimburse the homeowner for the cost of replacing and restoring the material up to a predetermined amount.
How do I care for my new lawn?
In order for it to take root and flourish, please follow these directions for care and maintenance carefully.
- Keep lawn moist for approximately ten to 14 days, or until the roots are firmly established.
• Water daily in small amounts, and avoid pools of water
• Ensure all areas and edges are watered
• During dry weather, water lightly several times a day
- Do not walk on newly planted grass prior to first mowing to prevent divots in the base.
- After ten days, gently lift a corner to see if the roots are beginning to establish. If the corner lifts up easily, with no resistance, then it has not established itself yet.
- Once established, normal watering can begin. Water less often, for longer periods of time to allow for the water to saturate the entire root zone down to the subsoil.
- Generally new lawns need mowing after four to six weeks.
- Top soil and seed need to be watered regularly to keep the soil moist until grass is grown.
- Avoid walking on seeded area for the first week.
- Generally the first mowing can take place between three and four weeks, when the majority of the seed has sprouted.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact our customer service call centre at 306-975-2476.
The City demonstrates environmental leadership and encourages water conservation for established lawns and limited use of pesticides. Learn how you can Be Water Wise.
The Utility Cut on my street was paved, but now it’s caving in. Why does this happen and will it be repaired?
Following an underground repair or installation, the excavation is filled in with gravel and packed for permanent paving. If permanent paving cannot occur, the gravel area is maintained with a grader, as required. Hot asphalt, produced only between May and October each year, is used to permanently patch a utility cut. Typically, four inches of fill is removed and hot asphalt is applied to repair the utility cut.
In some cases, the new pavement can sink in, or fail, if too much moisture soaked into the ground prior to paving. To ensure a long-lasting pavement patch, on lower-traffic streets where it is safe to do so, the crews may fill the area in with gravel again and allow traffic to pack the area and let more moisture out before paving.
In the spring, new pavement can fail due to movement underground caused by late frost coming up. If a location fails, please contact our customer service call centre at 306-975-2476 to report it and we will schedule it for repair.
Why isn’t the City paving the large rectangular-shaped hole on my street? A water main repair happened a while ago, but it just got filled with gravel.
You may check the status of repairs for a utility cut on our Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map. The map is updated regularly and includes locations scheduled for up to four weeks.
Following an underground repair or installation, the excavation is filled in with gravel and packed for permanent paving. If permanent paving cannot occur, the gravel area is maintained with a grader, as required. Hot asphalt, produced only between May and October each year, is used to permanently patch a utility cut.
Utility cuts on high-traffic streets are given priority for paving first-thing in the spring when temperatures are high enough for asphalt to be produced. Utility cuts on residential streets are scheduled next, either in the order they were excavated or sooner if crews are scheduled on a nearby street.
In areas where development is occurring, a utility cut may not be patched if further road construction is occurring in that construction season. Please report a location that requires maintenance to the City or to the neighbourhood builder for new neighbourhoods.
Concrete sidewalks, pathways and driveways
The sidewalk in front of my house was damaged by a utility cut; how will it be scheduled for repair?
You may check the status of repairs for a utility cut on our Utility Cuts and Repair Schedules interactive map. The map is updated regularly and includes locations scheduled for up to four weeks.
Concrete sidewalks are repaired in order of impact, beginning with high-pedestrian areas, such as Downtown and other business improvement districts, with residential sidewalks to follow.
Residential locations are typically repaired in the order they were excavated, but this can vary slightly based on location and crew availability. If a location requires more time to settle, curbs and/or driveways may not be placed until the next construction season. Once started, it typically takes three days to perform the work. Sidewalks cannot be poured in the rain, which can delay this final step.
How are driveways and walkways on private property repaired?
City crews will schedule and replace the blocks of concrete that were damaged during the excavation and underground work process. Initially, the area to be replaced is marked with paint.
Notification will be provided to the affected home 3-5 days in advance in the form of note in the mailbox or on the door advising of the date work is to occur, along with instructions to avoid watering lawn adjacent to the affected area. If you intend to take this opportunity to change the type or size of driveway, you will be responsible for the cost of the additional area.
Will the City replace my specialty driveway constructed from paving stones, or stamped/ coloured concrete?
For specialty concrete replacement, the homeowner must present three separate quotes for the repair by private contractors. Once the claim is submitted, we will inspect the location and collect “before” pictures as part of the process. The quotes will be reviewed by the City and reimbursement will be paid up to a fixed amount upon approval. Any additional charges or costs associated with an expanded scope of the work will be the responsibility of the home owner.
How long after the concrete is poured can I walk or drive over the sidewalk/driveway?
The first step in the replacement process for concrete is the “break-out”, which is where we remove the section of old concrete. This takes three to five days, weather-depending. Once break-out is complete, the concrete is poured. In order for the concrete to properly cure, please allow 24 hours before walking on the new concrete and seven days before driving on it.
Contractor Utility Cut Request
Any construction that requires access to underground utilities on City Right-of-Way must be approved by the City. Any excavation that may impact traffic must have a permit, proper work zone set-up and signage, and be restored within 24 hours of completion. Please use the Contractor Utility Cut Request form or email your questions.
Contractor Utility Cut Request - Frequently Asked Questions
Can I do the work to restore the road/concrete damaged for my utility cut? Can I hire a third party to restore the road?
All utility cuts must be restored within 24 hours of the completion of the work. As part of the contractor permit for a utility cut, you may pay the City’s rate for the road restoration or arrange for this on your own. Any roadway utility cut restoration must meet the City Standard for Asphalt Repair, and be completed before the detour or road closure is removed.
Why did the City’s rates change for utility cuts?
Over the past several years, with more construction and development, the amount of utility cuts on the road has increased significantly. To ensure these roads will be restored quickly following the work, this process was tendered to private companies. The rate is based on a competitive bid process.
Do I have to get the City’s permission to cut into the road?
Yes. City of Saskatoon Bylaw No. 2954 Streets Use Bylaw (Section 6) requires approval from the City prior to any work that obstructs a road or bridge. Apply online at saskatoon.ca/utilitycuts. As part of the permit process, the City will coordinate the road restrictions and timing to minimize the impact to traffic flow as much as possible on high priority roads. Please allow 7-10 days for this process.
Is the process for a Utility Cut permit the same for every type of road?
Every request for a utility cut must begin with the Contractor Utility Cut Request form. High-traffic, Priority 1 roads require a formal traffic detour plan and set-up provided by the City’s Transportation Division, for the safety of workers and drivers. Applicable contact information can be found in the Contractor Utility Cut Request form.