Several factors contribute to the patchwork condition of our streets. Most can be traced to winter weather.
- Water infiltrates the surface layer of asphalt pavement and freezes beneath the pavement. As it freezes, it expands and “heaves” the asphalt pavement.
- Constant traffic on distressed pavement dislodges the compromised asphalt from the roadway, causing a pothole.
- Winter weather and its numerous “freeze-thaw” cycles can be devastating to otherwise sound roadways.
- Asphalt and concrete don't expand and contract at the same rate. Some roads in the County, particularly state routes (maintained by VDOT) such as Glebe Road and Lee Highway are built on concrete bases. While this provides exceptional structural integrity for roads, it also puts them at risk for potholes.
- Plowing can be very distressing to pavement. While asphalt is a tremendously forgiving pavement material, the force of a snow plow attached to a tandem dump truck loaded with sand is mind-numbing. Repeated plow scraping takes a toll on the pavement and helps form potholes.
- Older water mains, are made of cast iron pipe and can become brittle as the temperature drops. As temperatures dip below freezing, the ground shifts and settles, transferring additional stresses to the already brittle pipes. To fix a water main break, crews generally excavate the roadway and apply a temporary utility patch so that the road can be reopened. Permanent patches cannot be applied until the ground is dry.
- Asphalt pavement is a heat-dependent product. It cannot be effectively produced or handled as temperatures drop.
- Temporary asphalt products can be used as an interim measure to restore pavement. However, they do not provide the same quality as permanent pavement restoration, which cannot be done until warmer weather.
- County crews are working diligently to address the potholes that have developed throughout Arlington, particularly on primary streets. Thanks for your patience, understanding, and care while driving.
- Submit a Pothole Report – Let us know where the potholes are and be sure to include the closest address. The better you describe the pothole's location, the faster we can find it and fix it!
- Check out information about potholes from VDOT >>