Over time roadways deteriorate and develop cracks and other defects. Snow and moisture pass through the cracks and seep into the underlying gravel base and sub-soils. The cold weather causes freezing and expansion of the moist gravel and sub-soils. As a result, the asphalt surface rises up in places in the road. This is called frost heave.

In the spring, the temperature begins to rise, the ground thaws, and the gravel and sub-soils settle leaving air pockets under the pavement. Vehicles driving over the air pockets and weakened pavement force the asphalt surface to collapse, creating a pothole.

The Road Commission utilizes two methods to patch potholes.

The first, Cold Patch, also known as cold asphalt, is the most common method to fill potholes because it can be applied right from the truck without heating. Cold patch also does not require any special heavy rolling machines or special applicators as it can be shoveled into the pothole.

Cold patch is not dependent upon warm weather. Road crews like cold patch because it retains its pliable properties when the temperature drops, so it can be used year round.

The second, Dura Patch, is a method that utilizes specialized equipment to patch potholes instead of workers with shovels, tampers and cold patch. The Dura Patch system cleans the area with compressed air, applies a tack coat, sprays the emulsion/ aggregate mix into the pothole with sufficient force to compact the material as it is applied, and then follows with dry aggregate to prevent lifting.

Dura patch is dependent upon warmer weather and is typically only used in the late spring, summer, and early fall months.

If you notice a pothole, please contact the Ottawa County Road Commission at 616-842-5400 to report the pothole location or utilize the online service request form.

Source:  Ottawa County Road Commission