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A) Water - and C) Freezing temperatures

While road salt and snow plows can make potholes worse, freezing temperatures and water are the biggest culprits to creating them in the first place. Water expands by 9% when it freezes. This is why a plastic bottle of water that you put in your freezer expands or why water pipes can break in the winter.  This property of water is also why potholes form on roadways in climates where it snows—water from melting snow can infiltrate cracks in the pavement and when the temperature drops below 32°F, it expands and cracks the pavement! Constant freezing and expansion throughout the winter causes a pothole!


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