Pothole Prevention and Innovative Repair

Pothole repair continues to be a major maintenance item in the budget of many highway agencies, and for these agencies, the annual appearance each spring of potholes is a major public relations concern. In many parts of the country, the appearance of potholes during late winter and early spring causes more negative publicity in the media and arouses more emotions in the motoring public than any other road-related problem. This is especially true when repairs are short-lived and the same areas are repaired repeatedly. Clearly, there is a need for long lasting, cost-effective materials and techniques for repairing potholes. In spite of the considerable progress made in pavement materials and pavement mechanics, pothole repair remains an area in which little progress has been made. This is not surprising given the complex character of the interaction between the existent pavement and the patching material (with or without tack coat) and the rudimentary construction practice used in most pothole repairs. In this proposal, pothole prevention and repair will be addressed by investigating the use of innovative materials in pothole repairs together with a rigorous analysis of the stresses that develop in potholes and at the interface with the old pavement, in order to develop better material designs and repair processes. In addition, a study will be performed to investigate if other pavement preservation activities could be used to prevent the initiation and formation of potholes and reduce the need of such extensive repairs. Such an approach will represent a proactive rather than reactive approach that in the long term is more expensive