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This cold, wet Winter has caused potholes to pop up throughout Radford. Below is an explanation of what causes potholes. Crews will begin to repair potholes this Spring, as the weather warms up and asphalt becomes available.
Potholes are created when moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and then thaws.
This weakens the pavement. Traffic loosens it even more, and it eventually crumbles and pops out.
Spring temperatures warm the cold pavement, melting and evaporating ice. This creates air pockets that can eventually cause the pavement to break up. A winter of heavy snow or rain and several freeze-thaw cycles can mean a big pothole season ahead.
The pothole is carved out with a jackhammer or masonry saw to create a neat rectangle. When the excess asphalt is removed, an adhesive is applied and asphalt is added in layers. It is leveled off and compacted with a pavement roller.
There are several reasons why a newly filled pothole may reopen:
Ultimately, our goal is safety and we must repair potholes as soon as possible.
Roads with high traffic volumes have more potholes because of of heavier use. Bridges and ramps, which receive heavy doses of snow-removal chemicals, are more prone to potholes.
Roads today are built to reduce their moisture capacity. Researchers are working to develop better, more durable pavement materials and designs.
Researchers also have improved the cold-patch asphalt so those patches last longer.