Best Practices for Pothole Repairs in Canada

Project Summary


In Progress

Research Area

Road Maintenance, Pavements

Responsible Council / Committee

Chief Engineers' Council / Soils and Materials Standing Committee

Project Funding Partners

Ville de Montréal; Manitoba Infrastructure; City of Saskatoon; City of Calgary; Newfoundland and Labrador Transportation and Works; Ministère des Transports du Québec; Prince Edward Island Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, Yukon Highways and Public Works; New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure; Northwest Territories Department of Infrastructure; Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure; City of Winnipeg; City of Ottawa; City of Edmonton

Research Agency

Applied Research Associates Inc.

Project Category

Soils & Materials
Maintenance and Construction

Staff Contact


The repair of potholes throughout a road network is one of the most challenging operations for Canadian agencies. Pavements often develop potholes during winter and spring thaw conditions, when it is difficult to obtain quality patching materials. Repair strategies applied by most Canadian agencies are typically reactive, with the patching of distress locations temporary, until more favourable weather conditions occur and permit a more permanent solution.

In recent years, there have been a number of patching products offered to agencies, with many Canadian agencies struggling to obtain appropriate information about the products, installation procedures, and the long-term performance that can be expected. Since most of the products are proprietary in nature, there can be significant issues with ultimate lines of responsibility, if problems or failures occur. 

The aim of the project is to:

  • Review patching products available on the Canadian market;
  • Review procedures used by Canadian agencies and International sources with similar climates and road conditions to complete temporary and long-term pothole repair strategies;
  • Summarize agencies’ experiences with current practices of pothole repairs;
  • Provide recommended strategies for appropriate temporary and long-term pothole repairs, as well as prevention and mitigation techniques for both asphalt and chip seal road surfaces in a variety of
  • Canadian climates, including permafrost affected areas; and
  • Prepare recommended guidelines for the evaluation of new patching products and their compatibility with native road material.

Key tasks to accomplish the project objectives will include:

  • A literature and research review of the typical causes of pothole occurrences and appropriate repair strategies;
  • Survey of Canadian agencies, industry, product suppliers, and contractors to determine the pertinent issues related to pothole repairs practices; and 
  • Development of a synthesis of best practices.

The work will culminate in a synthesis of best practices for pothole repairs in Canada, with recommendations for appropriate temporary and long-term patching strategies, for spring, summer and winter, and for evaluating and selecting appropriate patching products that will lead to long-term performance of roadways, for asphalt, concrete and chip seal road surfaces, in a variety of climates.