Everyone’s favorite subject when it comes to roadway maintenance, potholes!

First a bit of history;  Pottery makers in the 15th and 16th century England would take advantage of the ruts that wagon and coach wheels gouged into roads.  Anxious for a cheap source of raw materials for making clay pots. The potters would dig into the deep ruts to reach clay deposits underneath.  Teamsters driving wagons and coaches over these roads knew who and what caused these holes and referred to them as “potholes”.
What we consider a pothole today:
Potholes are created when the pavement or the material beneath it—called base or sub base —cannot support the weight of the traffic it carries.  Two factors are always present in such a failure: Traffic and Water.  The formation period for a pothole includes these milestones: Snow or rain seeps into cracks in the pavement and into the soil below, causing mud and eroding the support as a hole or void forms under the pavement.  Repeated freeze/thaw cycles or traffic cause the ground to expand and push up the pavement.  With temperature increases, the ground returns to its previous level, however the pavement does not drop, which results in a gap between the road surface and the ground below.  Vehicles driving over the raised pavement cause the surface to crack and fall into the hollow area below the pavement, which creates the pothole.
How are potholes repaired?
Pothole patching is generally performed either as an emergency repair under harsh conditions or as routine maintenance scheduled for warmer and drier weather. Depending on the materials used, patching can be performed during weather that ranges from clear spring days to harsh winter storms with temperatures ranging from 0 to 100 degrees. (mix costs more in the winter months).

When a pothole is first found, there is a liability issue with vehicular and pedestrian traffic going into or over a pothole. The first thing to do is cone the area off or temporarily filling it with hot asphalt or cold patch. This is not a permanent fix but can help with the immediate problem. When  weather conditions and time of day are available the temporary patch should be fixed for a more permanent solution.

There are many ways to fill in potholes here is a list of some of them:

Conventional Patching (long term solution)

  • Cut out the problem area to the sub-base
  • Repair the sub-base as needed & compact
  • Install & compact 2 inches of hot bituminous binder course
  • Install & compact 1 inch of hot bituminous concrete per MDPW specification, type I class meeting the elevation of existing pavement.
  • Seal the paving joint

Overlay Problem Area (temporary solution)

  • Key cut around the perimeter of area to be patched
  • Clean & hand apply Tack to the area being over layed
  • Install & compact bituminous concrete over the problem area
  • Seal the paving joints
  • This is a Temporary fix – The problem will reoccur over time

Infrared Patching

  • This is a method of blending new and existing asphalt by adding new asphalt to the pothole and infareding the area.
  • It creates A joint free patch • It is a good way to correct low areas in pavement
  • This is not recommended for seriously damaged areas- the problem will reoccur.

Polypatch & Mastics

  • Designed for patching large cracks & distressed pavement and potholes
  • Hot applied, self-adhesive modified binder containing selective aggregates
  • Ensures load bearing & skid resistant characteristics + 100% waterproofing

Happy dodging…