Pothole season in Tennessee occurs in transition from winter to spring, although it might feel like it’s happening all year round. This is the time of year you need to be on the lookout for potholes more than ever. Yet, pre-pothole season is the best time to look for signs of cracks or damages that’ll lead to potholes under the right circumstances—aka during pothole season.
When Are Potholes Most Likely to Form?
Potholes typically form after periods of warm weather and rain, or severe storms with freeze and thaw cycles. Both conditions serve as the perfect atmosphere for potholes to form. Furthermore, during winter, deicers are applied to roadways and increase the progression of potholes and asphalt deterioration.
Potholes may also form more readily after periods of extremely hot weather. Sunlight, heat and humidity can weaken asphalt over time and lead to the development of cracks, which can bloom into potholes.
How Do Potholes Form?
Potholes form because of moisture getting inside of cracks, and even the smallest cracks can let moisture in. To make matters worse, roadways are constantly under pressure from heavy traffic, leading to crumbling of asphalt. When asphalt crumbles, it is at an increased risk for the development of potholes. After all, potholes are most likely to form when asphalt is in a weakened state.
Natural wear and tear and water are the leading contributors to potholes. When the weather goes from cold to hot over a short period of time, moisture trapped beneath the surface freezes and then thaws—contracting and expanding against the asphalt. This puts pressure on asphalt and causes additional cracks to form, leading to a greater possibility of potholes.
Other factors that can increase the risk for potholes:
-Overloading asphalt with heavy trucks and traffic
-The use of deicers, especially on surfaces that were poured less than 1 year prior.
-Ignoring regular maintenance
The best way to reduce your risk of potholes is with regular asphalt maintenance.
The Risks of Potholes
Potholes put roadways at risk of additional failure, and they also present safety hazards to drivers. For one, hitting a large pothole can cause a driver to lose control and swerve into another vehicle. Overtime, driving over potholes causes damage to vehicles, increasing maintenance costs. Potholes can cause vehicle damage, such as a flat tire or destruction of the axle, mounting points of the wheel, and so forth.
In 2015, Tennessee’s Department of Transportation offered to pay for some damages caused by potholes on state property. Residents were encouraged to file their claims with proper proof of their claim to receive compensation.
Fixing potholes can actually save money and prevent a lot of negative consequences. Hence why when potholes get bad, TDOT crews are deployed to public highways and bridges to patch potholes.
Your commercial business needs the same treatment and attention to detail, after all, you don’t want your customers or employees injured or damaging their vehicles because of potholes on your property. Additionally, potholes that remain unrepaired or patched are going to expand into larger and more costly issues.
Fixing cracks in pavement is the first way to prevent potholes from forming. Potholes start off as smaller blemishes that grow into larger potholes, and they’ll only get worse without repairs.
How To Fix Potholes
Tennessee’s DOT spends around $2 million a year fixing potholes. The best way to prevent potholes is to take care of small cracks before they have a chance to let in more moisture and develop into potholes. Filling and patching asphalt is best done prior to the start of winter, when conditions are still ideal for these types of repairs. This will prevent your asphalt from being as susceptible to potholes.
When potholes do form, they are fixed by:
-Removing all debris from the area, cleaning and prepping the damaged area where the pothole is.
-The pothole is refilled with new and compatible materials.
-The patch is compacted so that it fits seamlessly with the surrounding asphalt material.
Temporary Winter Solutions for Fixing Potholes
During the winter, it is common practice to use cold mix asphalt to temporarily fix or patch the hole. When the weather warms up again, crews come back out to apply permanent repairs.
Prepare For Pothole Season in Tennessee
Contact Kleenco Construction today to prepare your asphalt surfaces for pothole season or to fix existing potholes the right way.