How Potholes Are Prevented and Repaired
A variety of techniques are used to prevent asphalt paving from deteriorating and to repair roads when they do fail.
Crack sealing and slurry sealing keep water from penetrating the surface by sealing small cracks. These treatments don't add structural strength to the pavement, but they protect the underlying roadbed from moisture and over saturation. Eugene's street repair services section applies more than 20 tons of tar sealing material on streets each year. Additionally, several dozen streets each year receive slurry sealing treatment through the City's Pavement Preservation Program.
Overlays are a more intensive treatment in which a layer of compacted asphalt is constructed to seal the surface and add some structural strength. Engineered overlays typically cover curb to curb after the top layer of deteriorated asphalt is ground milled off. Maintenance overlays often are applied directly to the existing surface, usually as an efficient way to address a number of potholes or large cracks in a specific area on a street. This type of overlay may not cover this entire width or length of street.
Reconstruction and dig-outs include digging up and rebuilding the damaged roadbed. Relative to other pavement treatments, this work is costly and may include extended lane or street closures.
Pothole patching is a very localized treatment in which a patching material is placed into a hole and compacted either by hand tamping or mechanical compactor. This is a very common form to pavement repair, but because patching typically doesn't include addressing underlying or surrounding problems the patches tend to break loose and have a limited useful life span and must be re-patched, sometimes frequently.