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Dated: 25 January 2010

Rime of the Ancient Pothole


“Potholes potholes everywhere and not one is being fixed.” That seems to be the general consensus on most of the websites/newspapers/magazines that have been discussing the matter lately.

Now it is true potholes are on the increase thanks to the recent bad weather - you only have to take a short drive in your car and at some point you’ll come into contact with a pothole it seems – but one question that is on a lot of people’s mind is, why does snow have such a destructive effect on the roads? It's only snow after all!

Well, for those not in the know, potholes are formed when water penetrates through the asphalt surface of a road. It seeps through fractures that appear over time, caused by the general wear and tear of traffic. When the temperature plummets – as it did recently – this trapped water freezes and expands causing even more damage to the road. When finally the temperature starts to rise and the ice melts, cavities are left behind under the surface. This then caves in with the weight of vehicles driving over it, leading to a hole in the road.

Spring time is normally “pothole season” in Britain, thanks to the normal increase in rainfall. However, this year the potholes have been forming earlier because the water – through the heavy snowfall – has turned up earlier. The prolonged period of sub-zero temperatures then increased the damage even further, leaving many road surfaces as weak as wet paper.

In order to help target and fix potholes many councils have set up special pages on their websites so that residents can report potholes. Whether or not they’re going to do anything about it is another matter entirely - one that will undoubtedly be debated throughout the pubs of Britain.

As well as the council websites, there are a number of independent websites that have been set up - such as www.potholes.co.uk - where citizens can report potholes in their area.

So, if you’ve been affected or have seen a dangerous pothole either get in touch with your local council or contact one of the independent websites.



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