CUT applies research to pothole repairs

Research is also focused on repairing the potholes, as these factors can cause pothole repairs to go wrong, such as potholes being filled without being cut or cleaned.

The Civil Lab at the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) is researching a road safe pothole repair method. It is a time-saving remedy to repair damaged roads caused by ageing and moisture that enters the underlying soil layers.

The newly developed method has been used in Bloemfontein and Boshoff to improve the conditions of the roads. The CUT Civil Lab repair method is one of the ways the institution continues to use technological solutions to provide a positive social impact in the community.

In partnership with CUT, the Civil Lab is currently working with private companies and has devised a solution called the Road Safe Pothole Repair Project Method. The time saving and easily applied remedy is for shallow, damaged roads at depths of 75 to 100 millimetres.

Malelo Mweemba, the Project/site manager of the CUT Civil Lab researching a road safe pothole repair method.

Malelo Mweemba, the Project/Site Manager, said the research was prompted by the change in weather and traffic patterns, which are some of the challenges that affect the roads infrastructure leading to road erosion.

“The use of the road safe pothole repair method has advantages over the current conventional shallow cold mix to medium damage repair. Number one is its affordability. It is easier to transport onto the site. It is easier to compact on-site and more workable. We are also able to teach people how to do it easily. It’s safer as well. There are no hazardous fumes or anybody being burnt due to its heat. Another advantage is that it is Beta Accredited, meaning that we can use it on our roads.”


Mweemba further explained that the focus is on smaller potholes, which are usually repaired using cold mixed asphalt material; whereas, larger ones can be repaired more effectively using hot mix asphalt, which they want to avoid. “The capability of hot mix asphalt is the fact that it’s a constant mixed supply that needs material and heavy plant; this is costly in some situations and working in up to 135 degrees Celsius, which is dangerous in many cases. They are also climatic considerations, such as the heavy rains we’ve been having this year.

“This method is only temporary and cannot withstand everyday heavy traffic loads. It is affordable and easy to apply, but it is temporary and only lasts a season. Usually, this comes off within about six months. The methods mostly used are tamping rods, and you find that this isn’t the necessary comprehensive effort needed for you to have the right road density,” he added.

Compiled by Justine Fortuin