At one point or another, most drivers experience the brief shock of hitting a pothole. So how do these imperfections form on asphalt surfaces in the first place? If you’ve ever wondered why public roads are sometimes littered with holes, learn more about this issue in this guide.
How Do Potholes Form on Streets & Highways?
As asphalt ages, it starts to develop surface flaws, such as hairline cracks. When rain and melted snow seep into these openings, moisture accumulates in the sublayers. During the winter, freeze-thaw cycles cause that moisture to expand and contract, slowly widening the cracks and eroding the surface’s lower layers.
Once the holes are large enough, the thin, top layer of asphalt is no longer supported from underneath. As the weight of different vehicles presses over these weakened areas, they give way, crumbling and forming holes.
How Are They Fixed?
To fill in potholes, paving contractors usually use patches. To seal holes that are small and shallow, they may apply thin layers of asphalt, aggregate, and binders. While liquid and hot when applied, the mixture hardens as it cools. However, this doesn’t restore the damage underneath the surface, so it is usually reserved for minor damage or service restricted by time or budget.
To permanently fix a pothole, full repaving is required. For this service, contractors carve out all of the damaged areas of pavement and reinstall them from the bottom up. This way, the gravel and compacted sublayers are restored to adequately support the top layer of asphalt. This process takes more time, materials, and funds to complete.
Grey-Ruso Construction of College Point, NY, provides lasting solutions for potholes. They have spent over 35 years repairing roads, parking lots, and other commercial asphalt surfaces throughout the five boroughs of New York, including Long Island and Westchester County. Call (718) 358-1836 for a free estimate, or visit their website to learn more about their offerings.