With over 39 000 potholes filled since the launch of The Dial Direct Pothole Brigade in January, it’s fair to say a “dent” has been made to chisel away a problem that plagues Gauteng’s roads – and road users.
But, just as there are always bubbles to squash on a sheet of bubble-wrap, new potholes surface almost as fast as The Dial Direct Pothole Brigade repairs another. So, what makes potholes so prolific?
The answer, says Dial Direct’s Senior Executive, Bradley Du Chenne, lies in the way in which they are formed.
“A pothole is depression or a hollow in a road surface. They form when moisture or water seeps below the surface of the road. The moisture then freezes and expands or heats up and contracts, causing stress to the asphalt.
With asphalt fatigue, and in wet conditions, or even hot, dry conditions, which cause the parched road surface to absorb water more rapidly, potholes are born. As vehicles drive over them, more of the road surface chips away and the holes expand. The bigger and deeper they become, the more dangerous they are, causing damage to vehicles and sometimes accidents.
“South Africa’s busy streets and roads, pummelled by rain and blazing sun, are prime breeding ground for potholes. During the Highveld summer, when it’s hot and rainy, potholes seem to crop up overnight,” notes Du Chenne.
The Dial Direct Pothole Brigade uses the advanced Jetpatcher technology to tend to pothole repairs. The process it uses results in a quality repair that takes very little time and avoids further damage to the road base.
While The Dial Direct Pothole Brigade is committed to repairing as many potholes as it can –typically at an impressive rate of 1000 potholes per week – Du Chenne says the team only has the capacity to repair certain types of potholes and cannot tackle road excavations and deep trenches or cracks.
“These are much bigger, deeper and more severe crevices and holes on the road surface that occur as a result of digging, either manually or with mechanised equipment, during road construction or for creating a passage for the laying of serviced such as pipes and cables. As such, they are not classified as potholes,” says Du Chenne.
The Dial Direct Pothole Brigade fills potholes that are smaller than 1.5m x 1.5m, and no deeper than 150 mm. When potholes are caused by underlying water or when there are deep cracks requiring resurfacing, the team refers them to the relevant road agency for their attention.
At the moment, The Dial Direct Pothole Brigade is working its magic in Ekurhuleni as well as on Gauteng Provincial Department of Roads and Transport (GPDRT) roads. Road users are urged to continue reporting potholes to The Dial Direct Pothole Brigade.
“We rely on the information and reports we get from the public for planning where next to focus our efforts. If you are unsure as to whether or not a pothole falls within our ambit, visit our website. Regardless of the size of the pothole, a pothole inspector will always be sent out to inspect the damage. If it can be repaired by our team, it will be done within a few days. If not, we’ll pass it on to the right people.”
There are three other ways to report potholes to the Dial Direct Pothole Brigade:
- Online via www.dialdirect.co.za
- By dialing *120*1551# on a cell phone and following the onscreen instructions (STD USSD rates apply)
- Via the mobi site – potholebrigade.mobi.