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a photo of a sewer grate covered in snow and blocked by snow in some places

Calgary Crews Play Whack-A-Mole on streets

Spring cleaning In Calgary is snowed out

What do the moon and Calgary have in common? Craters. After shovelling through one of the city’s snowiest winters, Calgarians now have to deal with hundreds of potholes.

“So far, we can say that this has been the sixth snowiest winter on record for Calgary, and that’s out of 139 years of records,” Rob Griffith from Environment Canada told CBC News.

That said, this winter wasn’t just tough for Calgarians. It also put the city’s roads through the wringer. As a result, the city now has a record number of potholes.

So far, Calgary has received 1,135 service requests related to potholes in 2023. To put things into perspective, in 2022, the city only received 350 calls in the same period.

However, due to extended winter conditions, crews haven’t been able to fix as many potholes. As of March 20, the city had only repaired 1,300 potholes. That’s less than half the number of potholes repaired at the end of March 2022.

As if potholes weren’t bad enough, some roads have turned into lakes overnight in some areas of Calgary. There are a few reasons why this is happening.

In some cases, water from melted snow is trapped by snowpacks and ice, which prevents water from reaching storm drains. In other instances, the storm drains have frozen over or are blocked by snowpacks, ice, and debris.

So water collected on roads in Calgary. Many residents are now threatened by flooding as the water from melted snow creeps toward their houses.

a photo taken by Jamie Ruff of the flooded intersection decorated with a few pool floaties and a sign reading Marda Lake
Jamie Ruff’s masterpiece at a flooded intersection in Marda Loops southwest of Calgary | Jamie Ruff’s Facebook Page

But some Calgarians are taking this opportunity to have some fun. Jamie Ruff is a resident of Marda Loop, southwest of Calgary. His wife got drenched after falling into a water pool caused by a blocked storm drain.

Ruff called the city right away, but after a few days of nothing, he knew help wasn’t coming. At least not anytime soon. However, Ruff had an idea to make the situation painfully clear to the city.

At a flooded intersection in Marda Loop, Ruff decorated the almost-knee-deep water with signs that read “Marda Lake.” The cherry on top was a variety of pool floaties that bobbed on the water.

“It took me an hour and a half to get some signs prepared, and I had to go to get some floaties, like blow up some unicorns…It took me three hours to get mobilized to send a message to the city that, you know, I wanted them down there,” said Jamie Ruff.

Ruff’s masterpiece did the trick, and city crews arrived to clear the blocked storm drain on Saturday. Unfortunately, Ruff’s request for help is just one of more than 1,000, according to the city’s manager of wastewater and stormwater, Corey Colbran.

However, Colbran is hopeful that the city will be able to get through most of these requests in the next week.

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