How are potholes assessed?
It is easy to assume that poorly maintained roads lead to winter damage and potholes. But this isn’t the case. Local authorities and highways agencies are continually assessing the state and condition of the nation’s A, B, and C roads.
In Lancashire for example, a pothole on a road is classed as 40mm deep and 25mm on a footpath. In a busy town centre pedestrianised area this is reduced to 20mm. Depending upon the danger to the public and road users work is then prioritised according to pothole criteria.
Reactive and Pro-Active Road Maintenance Methods
Roads are constructed and engineered for durability with a series of sub-layers providing a robust base. This is topped by a sealed asphalt surface, like a kind of crust, which provides a flat surface and grip over which we drive. It is easy to take our roads for granted but they are an amazing feat of civil engineering and a vitally important part of our infrastructure. Like anything exposed to the elements and used by us relentlessly, they are not infallible. Over time weaknesses can appear which lead to defects requiring urgent attention.
This occurs in a process of deterioration and the five stages of a pothole are:
Stage 1 – small cracks in the asphalt surface allows water to seep into the layer below.
Stage 2 – the secondary layers become soaked and softened.
Stage 3 – Once the temperature drops, this water freezes and expands forcing the surface to distort. Traffic going over the top of this area adds stress.
Stage 4 – The freeze and thaw cycle adds to the stress and weakens the road structure.
Stage 5 – Traffic breaks up this weakened area and a serious defect or a pothole appears.
Reactive road repairs take place to fix the potholes completely in one go, or sometimes a temporary measure is actioned until a more comprehensive road surfacing repair can be implemented. This could be due to adverse weather conditions at the time, or traffic management on a busy road. Airpatch is the method of repair championed by BituChem.
A programme of regular road maintenance is carried out with carriageway surface dressing operations from May to August, with the reconstruction of roads and footways throughout the rest of the year. Applying preventative measures makes roads last longer and enables budgets to be maximised.
Highway Maintenance Materials from BituChem
BituChem has a wide range of materials and product options to ensure that both reactive and proactive road repairs can be carried out to potholes and surface dressing can be renewed as part of a summer restoration scheme. Contact us with any queries about our products.