A large pothole on Highway 97 near Armstrong is blamed for several blown tires on Dec. 22. (Nichole Fleming/Facebook)

A large pothole on Highway 97 near Armstrong is blamed for several blown tires on Dec. 22. (Nichole Fleming/Facebook)

Pothole wreaks havoc on Highway 97 near Armstrong

Patching underway, lane closure and warnings issued by maintenance contractor

At least six cars fell victim to a large pothole in a merging lane on Highway 97 near Armstrong this weekend.

AIM Roads, the highway maintenance contractor, issued a notice on Dec. 23 urging motorists to use caution on Highway 97 between Crystal Waters Road south of Vernon and Enderby.

AIM stated its crews are out marking and patching potholes, however the potholes won’t be fully repaired until Friday after the Christmas holiday when a private contractor is available and asphalt plants reopen.

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The pothole problem is so severe that the northbound fast lane of Highway 97 has also been closed in the vicinity of Bailey Road south of Vernon.

The work on the potholes came too late for Amber Kimberly of Enderby and at least five other motorists whose tires were damaged by a pothole in the merge lane as they headed north out of Armstrong.

Kimberly said she joined a line of other cars along the shoulder of Highway 97 at around 7 p.m. on Dec. 22 after both passenger-side tires on her car were blown out from hitting the pothole. She said two of the cars had multiple tires blown and the rest had one tire damaged.

“No one was slowing down around us and it was dark, I was more worried about my kids than my car,” Kimberly said.

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She added that when called, the highway maintenance crew arrived quickly and patched the pothole, but there was no traffic control from either AIM or the police directing people to avoid the pothole.

With her car out of service until the tires can be repaired, and the cost of a rental not covered by ICBC, Kimberly said this has created a great inconvenience and cost for her family leading up to Christmas.