Why Potholes are “Springing” Up

With spring starting yesterday and the rainy season well underway, potholes are beginning to pop up everywhere.


So, what causes potholes?

  1. Tiny cracks begin forming in asphalt pavement as it ages, allowing water to get under the surface and weaken the base layers.
  2. More water gets into the base and it begins to erode, leaving a void between the base and the pavement.
  3. The weight of vehicles cannot be supported by the weakened base, and more cracks form and begin to interlock in a pattern known as “alligator cracking”.
  4. Vehicle traffic eventually works the chunks of pavement between cracks loose and, once a chunk is picked out of the surface, the pothole continues to grow through continued removal of broken chunks of pavement.

If a pothole fills with water the growth may be accelerated, as the water “washes away” loose particles of road surface as vehicles pass.

This process is also accelerated by freeze-thaw cycles, in which the water under the pavement freezes during colder temperatures, pushing the asphalt upward as it expands. When the ice melts, a void will be left between the base and the pavement, causing the asphalt to collapse under vehicle traffic.

If you notice potholes forming in your parking lot, call Alaniz Construction for a free quote before your problem gets worse! (510) 770-5000



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