QOTD: That One Special Pothole

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Those who have been paying attention will note I live in Chicago. As a resident of the North Side, I often use the famed Lake Shore Drive to from point A to point B. The nearest entrance ramp to southbound/downtown-bound LSD to my house has a pavement buckle that looks like a mini speed hump. It's been there for years -- perhaps for the entire 13 years I've been in my current spot.

This means that every test vehicle I take on this route, from sports cars to luxury sedans to three-row, land-barge crossovers has to encounter this pavement spot. It's a great way to see how a vehicle reacts, and sometimes I even adjust drive modes if I run this route more than once while driving the same car, to see if the response changes.

So, it's kinda nice for vehicle testing, but it's also annoying as hell. This buckle, and a pothole just beyond it that I usually manage to avoid, are things that annoy me in my daily life. I assume that you have something similar, no matter where you live. Even places where the roads are mostly pristine aren't perfect.

So, what pothole/pavement buckle/other pavement imperfection is well-known among you and your neighbors? Have you a local pothole that seems to strand a motorist with a blown tire on the regular? Maybe one that your local government has been unwilling or unable to fix?

I'll give you one more example -- growing up in the burbs, I was clued into a "jump" on a particular residential street a few neighborhoods over. I can't recall now if it was a speed bump installed by my city or a pavement buckle, I just know it was rumored you could catch air. I tried one night in my Fox body, but I don't recall all these years later if I did a mini Dukes of Hazzard or not -- I do know the Fox was unharmed (that car survived a lot of teenage shenanigans, but that's a story for another time). Anyway, you might have a similar setup near you -- a patch of pavement that local punks like to use to hoon.

So, sound off.

[Image: Lucky Team Studio/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Jwee Jwee on Dec 03, 2022

    Potholes are a choice, not inherent to road construction. A few years ago I read that road maintenance contracts are worth more than the construction ones, thus the skew. I don't think this is about taxes as much as priorities. Europe has higher headline taxes and much better roads (except you, UK), but I think this is about priorities. It's not the cold - spend some time in the cold north of Germany or the Alps and you can feel the difference.

    • See 1 previous
    • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Dec 04, 2022

      Not only is design and material choice important, but proper inspection is absolutely critical. Many a quality design was let down by shoddy construction work and corner cutting. Ever see a new parking lot that looked excellent when new but three years later there are potholes everywhere, sidwalks that have sunk, curbs that are misaligned...that's due to poor compaction of the substrate and that's a direct result of the contractor not doing the work correctly...tight inspection of all construction work is essential...

  • Beachy Beachy on Dec 04, 2022

    Asphalt only works to keep the dirt road below it dry, and it is the dry dirt that holds up the asphalt surface to make a smooth road surface. Once the asphalt cracks or a spring wells up and the dirt gets wet, all bets are off. It is usually due to a spring that perennial potholes form. They are very hard to get rid of.

    • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Dec 04, 2022

      Actually asphalt is porous - not enough to be self-draining, but it is not waterproof by any means. That's where the bed between the asphalt and the compacted fill comes in...it allows the water to drain away without compromising the integrity of the roadway...that is one of the most critical components of roadway design...

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