What Causes a Pothole to Form?

A pothole is a hole that forms in a road or sidewalk when freezing and thawing water cause the asphalt to break and expand. The expansion of the asphalt creates a void, which in turn attracts rain and snowmelt. 

This mixture of water, oil, and debris further weakens the asphalt and causes it to collapse. Potholes can form anywhere there is a gradual downward slope in the pavement, such as near drainages or along the edges of manholes. Click here for more information regarding pothole repair.

How Do Engineers Fix Potholes?

Engineers use a variety of methods to fix potholes. The most common is using a plunger. Engineers will first measure the depth of the hole and how far it extends into the pavement. They will then fill the hole with a thick layer of asphalt or concrete. This will help to stabilize the area and keep it from collapsing again.


A pothole is a large hole or crack in the surface of the road. They can be caused by a variety of factors, such as freezing and thawing, heavy rainfall, or intense sunlight. Because they are so common and cause significant damage to vehicles and their occupants, it is important to address them as soon as possible. Potholes should be reported to your local government agency using the online reporting system available on your municipality's website.