The UK’s pothole problem is getting worse. According to a survey by Kwik Fit, in the last 12 months 6.3 million drivers have suffered damage to their cars from hitting potholes. With the average cost per driver of £108 for repairing everything from tyres and suspension to bodywork, this amounts to a staggering £684 million repair bill each year. While underfunded councils across England are struggling to keep their roads pothole-free, this deepening crisis could be addressed simply and more effectively, through timely maintenance using a material which is up for the job and permanent – heavy duty mastic asphalt.
Potholes occur when the road surface breaks down and collapses, which is often the result of cold weather. When the temperature dips below freezing, water gets into the road surface and freezes, forming pockets of ice. As the weather gets warmer, the ice melts leaving gaps under the surface layer. The pressure of cars driving over the road surface can cause these areas to weaken, or eventually collapse, causing potholes.
With the Department for Transport allocating £50 million of funding to councils so they can repair nearly 1 million potholes across the country over the next 12 months, it’s important that these much needed funds are used wisely.
Often councils do a quick fix with a porous material which relies on compaction to keep roads open and road users safe. But then the same potholes reappear a few weeks later when the next frost or flood damages the road again. The porous material isn’t up to the job because it absorbs water and breaks down, causing the hole to expand and the pothole to get bigger.
A heavy duty mastic asphalt paving grade is an ideal material for council patch teams and a durable and proven solution to the problem of water and frost ingress. Mastic asphalt is voidless, does not absorb water and does not require compaction. It offers a performance level that far exceeds traditional materials.
Correct installation is the key. The sides of pothole should be cut square with vertical sides, removing all loose material. The sides and bottom of the pothole should then be coated using a flexible bituminous material, before filling with mastic asphalt and the surface joints sealed. It takes a little longer to prepare but the material sets quickly, ensuring the road is back in use within hours.
Potholes are an ongoing problem on Britain’s roads and can be a danger to road users. Mastic asphalt is a long-lasting repair solution for local authorities wanting an alternative to materials that aren’t up to the job, saving thousands of pounds of taxpayers money in the long run.