A pothole, noun, is a surface disruption in a roadway, caused by fatigue and erosion.
Last year, Physical Plant Construction Services used 88.22 ton of hot asphalt mix and 21.03 ton of cold patch filling in potholes on campus roads, totaling $8228.92 for both patching products.
During the summer months, the Physical Plant Construction Services staff use hot mix asphalt produced by at All States Asphalt Plant to patch potholes. In the winter months, when production of hot mix asphalt is not possible, they use cold patch. With spring rains and vehicle traffic, cold patch gets washed and/or bounced out of the potholes.
Over the last five year, the major campus roadways that have been paved are Massachusetts Ave, Clark Hill Road, Thatcher Road, Eastman Lane, and Commonwealth Ave. This paving has reduced the overall number of potholes on campus roadways. For the most part, potholes are occurring on the secondary campus roadways, Campus Center Way, Holdsworth Way, and Stadium Road. The ingredients of a hard winter provide the recipe for potholes. Snow, ice and rain provide ample moisture and severe cold causes pavement cracking that allows water to seep in, expand and displace paving material. Add sunlight, which creates varying temperatures that keep the damaging freeze/thaw cycle in motion. And finally, warmer spring weather accelerates the freeze/thaw cycle, causing pavement to deteriorate even more quickly.
Most potholes are formed due to fatigue of the road surface. As fatigue fractures develop they typically interlock in a pattern known as “alligator cracking”. The chunks of pavement between fatigue cracks are worked loose and may eventually be picked out of the surface by continued wheel loads, thus forming a pothole. Potholes occur when snow and ice melt as part of seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. The resulting water then seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by the wear and tear of traffic. As the temperatures cool to freezing at night, the water becomes ice and expands below the pavement, forcing the pavement to rise. As the weight of traffic continues to pound on this raised section – and the temperatures once again rise above freezing – a shallow divot occurs under the surface and the pavement breaks, forming a pothole
To report a pothole, please call the Physical Plant Services Desk at 545.6401 or go to the feedback link on the Physical Plant web page. http://www.umass.edu/physicalplant/feedback.html.