If you drive a car, you know that potholes are starting to pop up...especially around the time winter transitions into spring. But why do potholes only seem to be a big problem when the weather warms up? Well, that’s because potholes result from a combination of water going through freeze-thaw cycles, as well as traffic on the roadway.
Our roads are made of water-resistant materials. Typically, water will run off the road to the shoulder, or other drainage areas. But as a road ages and more traffic passes over it, cracks develop and water is able to seep into and underneath the pavement. In the spring months, this spells trouble for our roads.
If water is able to seep into the materials and soils below, it will freeze when temperatures dip below thirty-two degrees. When water freezes it expands (think about your ice cube trays) and the area of the pavement rises when expansion takes place. However, when the frozen ground below the raised area thaws, it will usually leave a gap, and this creates a weak spot in the roadway. As more and more traffic passes over it, pieces of the road will weaken further and can even break apart...and voila! You have a pothole.