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Why are Potholes so Common in the Winter?

Pothole season is around the corner. Do you why craters form on the roadways?

Posted: Feb 1, 2021 12:23 PM
Updated: Feb 1, 2021 12:27 PM

Construction on our Tri-State roadways seem to be a never-ending grind. Although it is our tax dollars at work, many would like to avoid the headache of one-lane traffic or mandatory detours. One of the most nerve-racking problems to encounter, sometimes without warning, are potholes. Rolling over rim-rattling carters on the streets could be experienced year-round. However, in the winter months potholes become even more frequently seen and weather plays a major role.

The construction of asphalted roadways are done in layers. The top layer is water resistant and curved to drain water off the road and onto the shoulder. In the mild and hotter months potholes are formed due to the stresses of traffic. The impacts of weather are marginal in summer. The intense daytime heat allows the pavement to expand slightly, due to the slight cooling at night, the asphalt would contract. In the winter, this diurnal cycle is much more dynamic. In fact, it becomes a three-prong problem. For one, the stresses of traffic are even higher because more people are commuting in vehicles compared to walking or biking to thier destinations. Secondly, precipitation events, rain or snow, are longer-lasting. This allows even more water to drain into any exposed crack on the roadways to begin the evolution of a potential pothole. Thirdly, as the water seeps deeper into the ground frosty night allows the water to freeze and expand. The daily freeze and thaw process in the cooler months exacerbates road surfaces even more.

Pothole season official starts in the early-spring. The dynamics weather patterns of March and April are the perfect recipe for giant craters to form on the Tri-State roads. The ingredients of frosty nights, episodes of heavy rain and warmer temperatures enables the cycle of contractions and compression to denigrate road surfaces. In the coming months be on the lookout for potholes to become more common on the streets. If your vehicle becomes damage due to driving over a pothole you can file a claim to your local government.

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