Nova Scotia has been experiencing a dramatic shift in weather patterns over the past few months. One day we have a blizzard, and the next day we are hit with a monsoon-like rain storm which washes most of the snow away. This cycle is repeated every weekend. These rapid changes in weather and temperature are causing a major increase in the amount of potholes on our roads. So what is a pothole? What do you do if you see or hit one? Will the government reimburse you for damages to your vehicle caused by a pothole?

Highway 103 craters – Winter 2021

The formation of a pothole happens in steps

Asphalt roads are the most popular solution around the world due to the low cost. Asphalt is known as a flexible pavement because it does not distribute weight across a large area as with concrete.

After the deterioration of the surface layer, or 1rst layer cracks begin to form. When cracks form, they allow water to seep under the surface layer and into the Base Course. The water will usually get trapped here and eventually wear through and deteriorate the Sub Grade. This is made worse when temperatures drop below freezing causing the water to freeze and expand. This frozen water is referred to as an ‘Ice Lens’.

The 3 Layers

  • 1st layer Asphalt
  • 2nd layer Base Course
  • 3rd layer Sub-grade

Queensland Beach In Nova Scotia After The Big Storm

N.S. Public Works – How to File a Claim for Vehicle or Property Damage Potholes, flooding, and other hazards

If you have incurred damage to your vehicle or property and you believe the province may be responsible, you can submit a claim to the Insurance and Risk Management, Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, for consideration.

Compensation is paid when an investigation finds that the province was negligent in their duties and that negligence resulted in your damage. In other words, when the province is found legally liable for the damage sustained. However, you are expected make efforts to minimize damage to your property. If you do not, you may be held responsible for part of the damage cost.

Driving in the rain

What is the claim investigation process?

All claims are investigated and reviewed by qualified, internal insurance adjusters. They determine the extent to which, if any, the province may be liable for the damage. Each claim is investigated and considered on its individual facts. We gather information from you, department staff, any third parties who may be witness to the incident, and those who may have been carrying out work at or near the site of the incident.

Deadline: within 30 days – Submit your claim within 30 days of the incident to ensure that your claim meets the notice requirement. Use our Claim Form and send evidence to support your claim such as photos or video.

Submit your claim by email, fax, or surface mail: risk@novascotia.ca
902-424-2325 (fax)
Monday to Friday
8:30 am–4:30 pm
Insurance & Risk Management
PO Box 2205
Halifax, NS B3J 3C4


N.S. Public Works – Climate change is expected to have impacts on:

  • Coastlines: Nova Scotia is particularly sensitive to coastal impacts. Most of our population lives along the coastline and much of our infrastructure is located in vulnerable areas. In many cases, that infrastructure was designed to withstand weather events less extreme and less frequent than what we now expect.
  • Fresh water: We can expect increased demand for water and increased competition for it. Nova Scotia’s supplies of fresh water may be at greater risk of salt contamination from rising sea levels, pollution from runoff caused by heavy rains and snow, and parasites drawn to warmer water temperatures.
  • Business: Not all impacts will be negative: warmer conditions may present opportunities for industries such as tourism and agriculture. Industries that benefit in some areas, however, will likely have to manage new challenges: protecting public and private infrastructure and making climate sensitive industries, like forestry, resilient to climate variability and extremes.

N.S. Public Works – How can I report a hazard?

Contact us immediately, 7 days a week, to report a hazard:
potholes, washouts, fallen tree branches, objects on the road, flooding
TIR Operations Contact Centre (OCC)

Halifax’s Pothole Reporting Page


How Do Potholes Work?

Preventing Potholes

Each time a vehicle hits a pothole, it disperses water from the pothole and the water carries particles of the dirt and asphalt with it causing the pothole to gradually grow. When cracks form in asphalt pavement, they are sealed to keep the water out. Concrete roadways don’t suffer from the same pothole issues as asphalt but are much more expensive to build.

N.S. Public Works Twitter Account


Halifax Government Twitter Account

A Complete Introduction to Defensive Driving For Beginners – Part 1

A Complete Introduction to Defensive Driving For Beginners – Part 2


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