Potholes are abrupt depressions, holes, or other defects in roadway pavement that can cause difficulties for drivers and vehicles. Potholes usually occur when the base material under the pavement is washed out. Weather is the most significant contributor to the severity of a pothole problem. Excess water beneath the pavement weakens the soil tremendously, particularly when the frozen ground begins to thaw in the spring. A sudden thaw, especially when accompanied by heavy rain, can very quickly wash out roadway base material and create numerous potholes in multiple locations. Other events, such as a water leak, may also wash away base material, creating a street defect.
The Highway Department repairs all potholes as quickly as possible after receiving a report of a pothole. In the winter, hot asphalt patch material is not readily available which necessitates using a temporary "cold patch" material, that does not adhere as well to the surrounding base material. For this reason, some potholes may need to be patched several times over the winter months, until the warmer weather allows for a permanent repair to be made. To report the location of a pothole, call the Highway Department Pothole Hot Line at 781-275-7605.