Pothole Prevention and Innovative Repair

Principal Investigator:

Mihai Marasteanu, Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Co-Investigator

  • Jialiang Le, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project Summary:

Pothole repairs continue to be a major maintenance problem for many highway agencies. There is a critical need to find long-lasting, cost-effective materials and construction technologies for repairing potholes. This research effort investigates critical components associated with pothole formation and pothole repair, and it proposes solutions to reduce the occurrence of potholes and increase the durability of pothole repairs. The components include investigating and documenting pavement preservation activities, experimental work on traditional repair materials, innovative materials and technologies for pothole repairs, stress analysis of pothole repairs to identify whether certain geometric configurations are more beneficial than others, and evaluating cost analyses to determine the effectiveness of various repair methods. A number of conclusions and recommendations were made. Potholes are mainly caused by the delayed response of timely fixing of common pavement distresses. The state of Minnesota has a number of preservation strategies that are available and have been successfully used. Recommendations are made to improve these strategies using documents made available as part of the new Every Day Counts, EDC-4, initiative. Currently, there are no required specifications for patching materials. Mechanical testing can be used to select patching materials based on the estimated durability of the pothole repair--such as short-, medium-, and long-term. A number of new materials and technologies are available as more durable solutions for winter pothole repairs. However, they require additional heat sources and are more expensive.

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