A menace to both drivers and cyclists, the pothole issue isn’t a new one as road users in Malaysia know that manoeuvring the streets of Malaysia would require swerving around the ever-present potholes.
What started as a mere obstruction to many is slowly becoming one of the reasons to why road users are injured even killed, as seen recently with experiences from Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Khary Jamaluddin who had been injured after falling due to a pothole and Ho Yan Fee who had died after skidding of another.
How are they formed?
Potholes are formed when water seeps into an existing small crack on the surface of the road and deteriorates further over time. Potholes varies in sizes and are caused by the expansion and contraction of water that has entered the ground under the pavement.
This only adds on to the factors as road surfaces which develop cracks due to stress caused by traffic expands during daytime and contracts during the night. Roadway traffic only makes the matter worst as cracks are widen which allows more water to seep in and repeat the process.
So why is Malaysia’s climate a recipe for potholes?
Unless you’ve been in doors all your life, you’d be quick to know that Malaysia has two kinds of weather, mainly hot and rainy.
Throughout the year we see rainy days more than enough and scorching hot temperature on other days, higher number of potholes are developed when we experience the various flashfloods across the country and when the roads dry up later at extreme temperature causing cracks on the road surface which only worsens over time.
As the weight of cars and trucks pass over spots that have succumbed to way too much pressure, pieces of the road are quite literally shattered, creating what we know as the pothole we often see.
Irresponsible utility companies
Potholes are also mainly the work of irresponsible utility companies that dig up roads in order to lay down cables and pipes. After doing so, these roads are not properly patched up, eventually deconstructing the hard work done by those in the road maintenance industry.
The lack of communication between agencies means that one would do the hard work of paving a road making it seemingly brand new, while the other digs a spot up for piping or other purposes. Unwanted cracks are created way before the weather comes into effect, which indefinitely speeds up the process of how a pothole is formed.