Potholes are everywhere right now, varying in size, shape, and level of hazard. This time of year seems to present a repetitive theme for pothole development, and for good reason. Continue reading to learn where these potholes come from, and why they seem to always get worse just before spring.
The Basics of Pothole Formation
The best way to understand why there are so many potholes around this time of year is to learn how they form. Pothole formation is pretty straightforward, and develop as a result of annual freeze and thaw cycles. Cyclical freezing and thawing is damaging to any type of porous pavement. Permeable pavements like asphalt and concrete can absorb water.
Water that does not run-off will settle within the pavement’s pores, and freeze in the winter when temperatures drop. When water freezes, it expands, which causes the pavements to shift and crack internally. Come spring, the water within pavement thaws and eventually melts, which causes additionally movement within the pavement.
This cycle of freezing and thawing causes pavements to expand and contract, which results in deteriorated aggregate. As pavement aggregate worsens, it weakens, and begins to deteriorate further until a hole is formed on the surface. Foot and vehicular traffic are contributing factors to a growing pothole, as well as, inclement weather and other natural elements.
Overall, the cause of pothole formation is the reason why pothole numbers increase this time of year. Before and during spring, temperatures can fluctuate back and forth from freezing to not freezing. And this means on and off contracting and expanding. Once the city is sure that the fluctuating temperatures and cold weather are behind us, large-scale pavement repair and construction will ensue. That is why you notice more road work in spring, every year.
Proper installation and drainage are key factors to pothole prevention. It is important to entrust your pavement’s installation and maintenance needs to a licensed and insured Indianapolis paving company that has extensive local experience. Furthermore, routine maintenance is vital for pavement durability, longevity, and performance.