According to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), potholes occur when snow and ice melt as part of Michigan’s seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. The resulting water then seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by the wear and tear of traffic.
As the temperatures cool to freezing at night, the water becomes ice and expands below the pavement, forcing the pavement to rise. As the weight of traffic continues to pound on this raised section – and the temperatures once again rise above freezing – a shallow divot occurs under the surface and the pavement breaks, forming a pothole.
A pothole is typically fixed by cleaning out the loose debris and filling it with hot and cold asphalt patch.