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Why Do Potholes Keep Coming Back?

Why Do Potholes Keep Coming Back?

Potholes are a scourge to drivers everywhere. In addition to giving road users a nasty jolt, potholes can cause significant damage to vehicles.

It seems as though more and more potholes appear every day, which begs the questions: what causes them? And why do they keep coming back?

How is a pothole formed?

Potholes are an unfortunate combination of water, poor road surfaces and cold temperatures.

First, groundwater seeps into small cracks in the surface of the road. When the temperature gets cold enough, the groundwater freezes and expands. This causes the surface of the road to rise, creating a bump on the surface and a cavity underneath. As vehicles pass over the bump, it eventually collapses, exposing the cavity. This is what we call a pothole.

How Potholes are Formed

Where are the worst areas for potholes?

It feels like there’s a pothole on every road you drive on, but the reality is that some areas of the UK have far more potholes than others. A survey by Vanarama discovered that the following UK councils received the highest amount of pothole complaints:

  • Surrey County Council – 6,733
  • Kent County Council – 3,194
  • Hertfordshire County Council – 3,124
  • Essex County Council – 2,989
  • Lancashire County Council – 2,703
  • Glasgow City Council – 2,486
  • Buckinghamshire County Council – 2,484
  • Hampshire County Council – 2,411
  • Oxfordshire County Council – 2,345
  • Cheshire East Council – 2,306

Overall, Vanarama disclosed that over 100,000 complaints had been reported to councils across the UK in just one year.

Why do potholes keep coming back?

The UK government commits millions of pounds each year to maintaining and improving our roads, yet many potholes continue to resurface no matter how many times they are filled.

The main issue is that filling in the pothole is often treating the symptom and not the cause. Councils will simply attempt to remedy the issue by filling in the cavity, but this is only part of the picture.

If the substrate is unstable, usually caused by variations in moisture content of the ground beneath, then potholes are likely to reoccur. Solving this issue requires digging up the roadbed, but this is typically ignored.

Poor drainage on the road is another reason for recurrence. If drainage is inadequate, then water will inevitably find its way back underneath the road surface. Solving this issue would require calibrating the gradient of the road.

A further issue is using the wrong grading of aggregate during the repair. If the aggregate isn’t compact enough, it will inevitably lead to problems further down the line.

Find out more about aggregate and grading in our guide here.

At Total Concrete, we provide high-quality concrete mixes with well-graded aggregate. Serving domestic and commercial customers in Guildford, Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire, we supply the concrete you need for your project.

So whether you’re filling a large road or undertaking a small home building project, we have the concrete for you — delivered straight to your door.

Contact us today to find out more, give our team a call on 0800 859 5371!

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