Does No Snow Mean No Potholes?

New Jersey winters have been relatively mild in recent years, and snow totals have been below average. If you believe snow forms potholes, you would expect fewer potholes needing repair in the spring. If only that were true. Potholes are formed by snow and ice and from the freeze-thaw cycles, we experience during northeast winters, with or without snow.


Potholes can start with a crack as small as 1/8 of an inch. Even the best-maintained pavements are subject to damages over time. These cracks enable moisture to infiltrate the pavement. Pavements that have recently had seal coating or asphalt rejuvenator applied are less susceptible to water infiltration.


It is the presence of water in the pavement that is the problem. When the temperature drops below 32°F, any water in the pavement freezes and expands. The ice pushes up the top layers of asphalt. When the temperature rises again, the ice thaws and creates a gap. The top layer of asphalt weakens as traffic passes over the holes. The temperature will again rise and fall until more cracks appear in the area, and the cracks connect to form a ring. Eventually, the ring of cracks collapses into itself. It is now a pothole.


We recommend that property owners and managers keep a keen eye on any developing potholes during pothole season. Once a pothole is formed, a temporary repair should be considered. Asphalt plants are not open during the winter to provide the product needed for a complete repair. The quick repair will impede the pothole growth. Still, more importantly, it will protect the property owner from potential insurance or legalities stemming from pedestrian accidents or vehicle damage related to contact with the pothole.


Garden State Sealing is here to serve you. If you have questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at (732) 229-7758.

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