The dreaded pothole: Here's how they form

Steve Stewart Image
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Winter weather special potholes
Winter weather special potholes

As the winter wears on, you'll start to notice more potholes in our streets and highways.

We get them every year -- the dreaded potholes.

We do our best to avoid these hazards, but many of us fall victim and the cost for repair can be quite high -- on average $370.

So, why do they form?

It starts with cracks in the road. They are caused by traffic-induced fatigue and thermal movement, meaning cold nights and warm days in the Spring and Fall cause the pavement to expand and contract.

Once a crack has formed, moisture gets into the cracks and underneath the pavement.

The water freezes and expands, causing cracks to increase in size. It also lifts the pavement slightly.

Once the ice melts, the pavement contracts, leaving gaps under the pavement.

The weight of cars weakens the pavement, eventually sinking and causing a pothole to form.

Some years are worse than others when you factor in the temperature and precipitation.

This year, we are expecting near normal temperatures and above average precipitation.

That means potholes will likely be easy to find this winter.