Joint project will evaluate current approaches for road pothole repairs and advice on improving the existing design guidance

Two Nottingham universities have been given funding for a research project into the performance of repair work on potholes.

The Institution of Civil Engineers is funding Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham to undertake a six-month research project to evaluate the current approaches and design guidance for repairs, investigate the suitability of easily deployable non-destructive testing devices to examine patch performance, and improve existing design guidance. 

Cooper Research Technology, Aggregate Industries, Halcrow a CH2M Hill company, and Epicuro are industrial partners in the research project.

The alarming increase in the number of road potholes - an outcome of reduced road maintenance, increasing traffic volumes, heavier loads, and repeated adverse weather - is creating potentially hazardous driving conditions. 

This research will produce a number of recommendations concerning the quality of road surface repair work, Dr Mujib Rahman

As part of the study, a pavement section will be constructed and pothole repairs  tested under different loading and environmental conditioning regimes. This will then be related to actual road potholes, in order to gain greater understanding of the factors influencing the performance of pothole repairs.

Dr Mujib Rahman, senior lecturer in civil engineering at NTU, said: “Generally, potholes and other types of distress, such as rutting and cracking, appearing on the road surface are a sign of major underlying problems that require structural rehabilitation. However, budgeting constraints often lead to patch repair and pothole filling in order to maintain the road in a safe and serviceable condition.

“It is anticipated that this project will be the first stage in a much larger programme of research, generating early data to enable the key features of pothole deterioration to be identified, and allowing initial comparison of repair materials. This research will produce a number of recommendations concerning the quality of road surface repair work.”