How Are Pot Holes Formed?

Everyone knows the sensation of driving down a road and hitting a huge bump, then hoping our cars are alright. All drivers know the cause of this sudden panic: a pothole. It seems like a new one pops up every week, but where do they even come from? How are they formed? Here’s the truth about asphalt potholes and why they’re such car killers.

Whether large or small, potholes are created when groundwater expands and contracts. This isn’t happening on the surface level, but rather under the asphalt. Water expands when it freezes, so frozen groundwater causes the pavement to stretch, bend and eventually crack. Over time, this weakens the asphalt’s very foundation. When the ice melts, the asphalt leaves holes in the surface. Add thousands of cars and trucks driving over this weakened spot and a pothole slowly begins to form. The more vehicles drive over the weakened spot, the more and more the pothole begins to chip away, and pretty soon we’re left with a huge hole. 

Add salt in the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster. Salt allows water’s freezing temperature (usually 32 degrees Fahrenheit) to freeze at much lower temperatures, creating a freeze-melt cycle. This means that potholes are formed quicker and can chip away much easier.

Notice a pothole on a road near you? Contact Roads Paving and we’ll put our 61 years of asphalt experience to work repairing it! 

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