Information regarding what causes potholes in the borough’s roads and how Cheshire West and Chester Highways team repair them

At this time of year bad weather has a massive impact on the amount of potholes forming and we can all see an increase in the number of potholes on the borough’s roads.

Causes of a pothole

1. Water seeps through cracks in the road caused by passing vehicles.

2. During periods of extreme cold, the water freezes and expands. This causes more cracks to form in the road; the asphalt is then pushed out like a bubble.

3. The ice thaws and milder weather dries up all the water. This creates a hole under the surface of the road. These get larger every time water seeps in to the hole, freezes and expands.

4. With the base weakened, the weight of traffic causes the road surface to collapse into the hole that was formed from water freezing, expanding and thawing under the surface.

A pothole is formed once the road surface has collapsed. Wear from traffic then makes the hole bigger. This is not always a lengthy process either, under the right conditions potholes can develop very quickly, sometimes in as little as 24 hours.

Reporting potholes

Residents are encouraged to report potholes via the Your Street website.

There is also a link on the main Council website (the middle button on the top row).

These service requests are then inspected by our network stewards who are mobile working in the field. They receive these requests via the internet and modern IT and then arrange for the pothole to be repaired. Serious defects are prioritised first and may at this time of year consist of a temporary type repair. The Council carries out regular inspections of the highway network by dedicated staff to ensure that we are identifying and repairing potholes and other defects in a timely manner, thus keeping the highway safe for all to use.

How potholes are repaired

The cold weather also affects the type of repair we can carry out to fix potholes. Repairs are normally carried out with hot materials in average temperatures. The recent cold weather has meant that we have increasingly had to carry out temporary repairs with temporary material. Whilst these repairs are not aesthetically pleasing, they do keep the network serviceable and our residents safe. As a result during January and February temporary pothole repairs will increase. The location of each defect will be accurately logged and a permanent repair will be included in an appropriate programme of works, whether that be surface treatment pre-patching or a programme of patching works later in the year. On average we repair over 5,000 potholes a year.