If you are a commercial property manager, potholes are probably one of your biggest headaches. They cause road damage and make it difficult for customers to navigate. They were also expected to cost American businesses $240 billion by the end of 2022.
But what causes potholes, and how can they be prevented? This quick guide will examine the main causes behind those pesky potholes so that you can better understand why they appear in the first place and, more importantly, how to avoid them in the future.
What Are Potholes?
Potholes are an, unfortunately, all too common sight on commercial properties. Before we discuss what causes potholes, it is important to understand what they are so you know what to look for. They can appear seemingly out of nowhere and quickly turn a smooth drive into a pock-marked journey.
While potholes look like cracks in asphalt, they are quite different; pothole edges tend to be jagged, whereas crack edges are usually somewhat smooth.
Overall, potholes can be extremely dangerous as they can cause serious damage to a vehicle if not avoided. As a commercial property manager or facility manager, it is important to understand they could also lead to expensive legal battles if they cause enough damage.
What Causes Potholes?
There are a few main causes of potholes. In general, they occur when water seeps into the pavement of roads and freezes. As the ice expands, it cracks and breaks apart pieces of asphalt. When cars continue to drive over potholes, they become bigger and can seriously damage drivers who do not notice them in time.
Weakened pavement is one of the key causes of potholes. After all, groundwater cannot get inside if the pavement is strong and sealed properly. So, it is important to ensure your roads are properly maintained.
Cracks and other damage to pavement can be a sign that weakened pavement is leading to future pothole problems. If left untreated, weakened pavement can worsen until it leads to a full-fledged pothole.
As mentioned above, when melted ice and frozen water come into contact with roads and highways, it has a surprisingly damaging effect.
As the melted ice mixes with dirt, rocks, and other debris on the asphalt surface, it creates opportunities for air and moisture to reach the foundation layers of the pavement. This causes significant damage to those lower layers. Consider the freezing point of water and pay special attention to your commercial pavement when the weather gets cold.
The vibration from traffic, especially from traffic involving heavy vehicles like trucks, affects the quality of pavement and asphalt, making it unable to support traffic in the long run. Over time, these constant vibrations cause cracks in the surface. Eventually, they develop into potholes as pieces of them chip away.
Additionally, when cars drive over pre-existing potholes, they can get bigger or cause more damage by further chipping away at the surface around them.
Asphalt Repair & Management
Understanding what causes potholes is the first step. Next, you will want to take measures to prevent them from forming in the first place. Fortunately, potholes do not have to be unavoidable with proper maintenance.
NVM Paving is dedicated to delivering superior asphalt repair and maintenance. When you contact us for regular maintenance, you will be helping to extend the life of your pavement and save yourself money in the future. Do not let potholes be an issue; contact us now and ensure a long-lasting asphalt surface.