What Causes a Pothole
Make sure to look for:
Years of under investment in the UK road network has led to an on-going battle come spring to get our roads, car parks and foot ways back to even the minimum standards required.
Therefore due to the limited amount of budget available logically speaking it seems perfectly sensible to save up all your resource for when you expect to have the greatest volume of serious issues. However it's this very approach that is contributing to the problem.
So when is the best time to get out there and carry out repairs?
Potholes are quite a contentious issue right now, with more and more appearing on our roads and pavements every day. Whether it’s down to poor road maintenance, extreme weather or poor repair treatments, it’s important to figure out the best way to tackle them and hopefully stop them from re-appearing in the same place any time soon.
In light of this, we’re taking a look at the pros and cons of pothole repair solutions /methods to see which one comes out on top ensuring your site is not left with dangerous potholes like the one in the image above.
Option 1) Doing nothing
You may be surprised at how many people identify a pothole on their premises, street or walkway and decide to do nothing in the hope that it will miraculously go away - it definitely won’t. An untreated pothole is not only a danger to pedestrians and can cause damage to passing cars, but also it is only going to get worse. What starts out as a small fracture on the surface, will get deeper and bigger if left alone, due to the fact it’s more exposed to the elements. This in turn will cost you more in repairs in the long term, as a smaller pothole is much easier and cheaper to repair.
If you have spotted a pothole, you may look to do a temporary repair, which can be a cost effective and quick pothole fix as it will cause less disruption in areas with heavy traffic, and is better suited to repairing potholes during poor weather conditions as it uses a cold material to fill the hole. However, the problem is that temporary repairs are exactly that, temporary. Thus you will eventually have to apply another temporary repair or look for a permanent repair solution, which will inevitably end up costing you more time and money.
The conventional permanent repair for potholes involves cutting a rectangular or square area around the pothole (called a cold joint) that gives a clean, straight surface for the repair material to adhere to. Before applying the hot bitumen (asphalt), the hole is also cleared of any loose debris and coated with a bituminous sealant. This ensures the hot bitumen solution takes the surface properly, once it has been compacted down to level it out.
This type of solution is understandably much more time consuming and but also far more effective than a temporary repair, however can have much larger cost implications as it requires more manpower, equipment and expertise. Plus, it doesn’t always solve the problem of potholes in a specific area and can still mean a complete resurfacing job.
The cold joint in between the existing and new surfaces is a point of weakness, any water penetrating into the joint will result in failure and ultimately another pothole.
Another option for pothole repair is to use infrared technology, which fuses the old surface with the new far more effectively than the permanent or temporary repair methods. This will mean that pothole repairs are much more effective, as you are left with no cold joints like the conventional repair, making the surface more durable and robust. In addition this durability means it can be a very cost effective pothole repair solution too, as fewer repairs will be needed in the future.
Infrared repair is also the most environmentally friendly and long lasting of all methods as it utilises the existing material leaving very little waste as a result.
It’s pretty clear to see that temporary repairs – although quick – are not sustainable, so isn’t it time a cost effective, robust fix was the go-to method?
It is a sad fact that the appalling state of the UK’s roads is now the worst it has ever been.
Whether quiet country lanes, town and city roads and even some of the busiest motorways, our roads are crumbling away and the biggest problem of all is potholes.
Years of neglect and under funding have clearly contributed hugely to this blight on our roads and highways, coupled with the massive increase in traffic and in particular heavy lorries. But a major part of the pothole problem must lie with the lack of forward planning by central and local governments who must surely have been aware that the road infrastructure would need a running programme of maintenance to keep up with traffic development.
Rather than effect proper, long-lasting repairs to potholes councils seem to have mostly gone for short-term repairs which are cheap but serve only to plug the gap – literally – for a few months before the pothole reappears. All it takes for a pothole to reappear is a short period of heavy rain or severe frost and snow.
Part of the problem appears to be that councils can quite easily absolve their responsibilities for any damage done to vehicles, or for injuries sustained, by claiming that they have checked the condition of a road in accordance with their own criteria. There appears to be no government-set standard for a system of road checking and individual councils can set their own schedules. The result is that millions are paid out in compensation every year to road users who fall foul of potholes. Surely the money could be better spent by adequately maintaining roads in the first place.
Councils spend an average £50 on a small pothole repair so they presumably think this is good value for money. This often involves a simple method whereby a man with a shovel pours a small amount of tarmac into the hole and levels it over. Job done. This is then unfortunately prone to breaking up or sinking in again shortly thereafter because water will make its way underneath the repair.
A much better way is to use infrared tarmac repair. This involves heating the damaged area until it becomes soft and workable. An application of rejuvenating emulsion is applied followed by new tarmac to fill in any voids. The area is then compacted down so that a seamless patch is heat-bonded to the surrounding area. It is the thermal bonding process which ensures no water can leak through the repair.
One of the great advantages of using this technology is that the cost of it is comparable to conventional repairs but a repair done in this way will last much, much longer. The infrared process takes an average 20 minutes or less and is a suitably eco-friendly method as it utilises existing tarmac.
It makes no sense for councils to continue to use outdated, expensive and short-term pothole repair methods when the new technology is in place to provide long-lasting, cost-effective repairs.
Planned maintenance is the only way forward, both to protect budgets in the long term and ensure that our roads are kept to high standards that we rightly should expect.
Renoo.co.uk are a national one-stop, pothole repair shop and specialise in providing long-lasting, cost-effective solutions to pothole damage.