Potholes are formed when water seeps through existing cracks and freezes and expands. When that water melts, it leaves a gap in the asphalt. Potholes can happen at any time of year but tend to worsen more rapidly due to the fluctuating temperatures during wintertime.
Sinkholes are different from potholes and are caused by erosion underneath the asphalt. When you look into the hole and cannot see any pavement, it could be a sink hole.
Repair priorities and timelines
Road operations crews identify and log potholes all year. We rely heavily on residents to report any problematic potholes they see by calling 311 or reporting a pothole online, so we can log them into our system for repair.
The municipality uses two main strategies for repairing potholes - Cold Patch is used for temporary fixes (typically in winter), and Hot Asphalt is used for permanent fixes. Read more about our pothole repair strategies. The municipality further prioritizes potholes based on width and depth, and Priority 1 potholes are addressed before all others. This means some potholes on streets will be fixed before others to ensure the more serious potholes are addressed as soon as possible .
For information on roads maintained by the province, including 100 series highways, please see call 511 . Not sure if your road is maintained by the province or the municipality? Search your address on our interactive map.
Priority 1 potholes
Potholes that are at least 25 centimeters in diameter and 8 centimeters in depth.
Arterial: 7 business days
Major collector: 7 business days
Minor collector: 14 business days
Local: 30 business days
Priority 2 potholes
All those smaller than Priority 1 potholes.
12 months or as soon as resources permit
Commonly Asked Questions
- How does the municipality keep track of all potholes that need to be repaired?
Road operations crews identify and log potholes all year. We also rely heavily on residents to report any problematic potholes they see by calling 311 or filling out an online form on our website at halifax.ca, so we can log them into our system for repair.
- Are potholes repaired during the winter?
During the winter months, road operations crews have access to a mobile hot asphalt unit that can repair potholes. Crews also use a cold patch product that can be applied year-round for areas that require immediate attention. Larger hot asphalt plants typically open in late April or early May.
- Why was one pothole fixed on my street but not another?
Priority 1 potholes are addressed before all other potholes. In some circumstances this might mean one pothole on your street is addressed and the remaining potholes at a later time. This is done to ensure the more serious potholes throughout municipal roadways are addressed as soon as possible within service standards.
- How does the municipality decide which potholes are a priority?
Pothole priorities are determined by width and size. Priority 1 potholes are at least 25 centimeters in diameter and 8 centimeters in depth. All other potholes are considered Priority 2.
Priority 1 potholes will be address before Priority 2 potholes. In some circumstances, this might mean one pothole is addressed on your street before another pothole. This is done to ensure the more serious potholes throughout municipal roadways are addressed as soon as possible with service standards.
The time to fix a pothole can range anywhere from 7 business days to 30 business days depending on the pothole and if it is considered a priority. Crews aim to repair priority potholes on main arterial and major collector roads within 7 business days.
- Why do potholes get worse in the winter?
Temperature fluctuation can certainly worsen existing potholes in the road, due to water seeping through existing cracks, freezing, and then expanding and leaving a bigger void.
- What is the process if someone’s vehicle is damaged by a pothole?
If a vehicle is damaged by a pothole, it would first be important for the driver to determine who is responsible for the stretch of road the pothole is located on. You can do this by calling 311, or by searching our interactive map.
For example: the province is responsible for highways, many rural roads, and highway on-ramps; the municipality is responsible for streets in the urban core.
If your road is managed by the province, call 511 for further details. If the municipality manages your road, it is advised the driver call 311 to begin the claim process. The claim process begins when residents call 311 to report an incident.
Once the 311 call is logged, the appropriate business unit are notified and staff will connect in a timely manner (typically 10 business days) to carry on the process.
Report a pothole or sinkhole
To report a pothole or sinkhole on a municipally-owned street or sidewalk call 311 or use the form below.
To report potholes on provincially managed roads and 100 series highways please call 511