How does the winter weather affect our roads?

With the recent winter weather, you might have noticed an increased number of potholes is this down to the cold? What else does the winter weather do to our road infrastructure?

  • Freezing and thawing cycles

Repeated freezing and thawing of the road causes the road to become more brittle and therefore more prone to cracking. The salt they use during cold weather actually adds to the damage caused as it affects the surface.

  • Expansion makes cracks worse

Water expands as it freezes to become ice by about 9 of its volume. Remeber your geography lessons about weathering? Water gets into an existing crack, freezes expanding the crack and then thaws allowing more water in.Repeat the cycle a few times and that small crack is now a huge problem.

  • Is that dam same pothole year after year!

To repair a pothole properly, your local authority should use a high-quality patch and they do work when done properly. The problem is to work properly they need time.

Local authorities need to repair a road that is open to traffic, the repair and patch happen very quickly since traffic needs to be stopped or diverted.

Often, the only time that roads can be repaired is for a few hours overnight, when they can be closed. This is a problem because the patch is not allowed to properly settle and bond to the existing road surface. This is why you see damage in the same location year after year, the patch fails.

Sometimes the only way that pothole will completely be removed is when the road is completely relaid and given time to cure.