Types of Asphalt Pavement Failure

pothole in road

Is your pavement in good shape? Train your eyes to see all the types of asphalt damage here.

Asphalt makes up our roads, parking lots, and driveways. Businesses and municipalities alike have to maintain their pavements so that visitors can safely travel and visit the business. Otherwise, vehicles could suffer damage and cyclists and pedestrians could suffer injuries. How do you stay on top of asphalt maintenance for your business? Aside from having a maintenance schedule, you can be aware of these types of asphalt pavement failure.

Longitudinal Cracks

Longitudinal cracks tend to happen where the pavement is less dense, such as at pavement joints. They can happen due to subsurface cracking, pavement fatigue, or joint problems. They typically precede alligator cracks.

Alligator Cracks

Alligator cracks look practically like alligator skin. They are a sign that the pavement has suffered enough overall damage that the entire pavement needs resurfacing or replacement. In general, the damage is structural damage.


Potholes are likely to appear after alligator cracking, but they can happen due to local asphalt pavement failure as well. They can happen when the subsurface fails or a crack grows larger due to the freeze-thaw cycle.

Reflective Cracks

Reflective cracks are cracks that appear on the surface directly above subsurface cracks. They can be longitudinal, transverse, or both. They are most likely to appear at pavement joints.

Edge Cracks

Edge cracks are longitudinal cracks along the edges of roads or any other asphalt pavement type. They typically happen because of a lack of pavement support at the edge or drainage issues

Ruts and Depressions

Ruts and depressions happen after years of heavy traffic that follow the same path or because of pavement weakness or moisture infiltration. If the damage is stabilized or minor, it is possible to patch it without replacing the local pavement.


Shoving happens most often at intersections. It looks like ripples in the pavement. It occurs because of a problem with the asphalt pavement design, such as excess asphalt, excess fine aggregate, or a weak base.


The opposite problem of depressions and ruts can happen, too. The pavement can heave upward in ridges because of expanding soil underneath. The soil would expand because of freezing and thawing ice in it.


Raveling is the wearing away of asphalt by bits and pieces. Granules of the topmost layer slowly break away. Before you know it, larger particles break off, and the surface is jagged. Reapplying the top layer can help solve this issue.

Reliable Can Help

No matter what your asphalt pavement failure is, Reliable Contracting has a solution. If you need asphalt pavement repair in Maryland, count on us!


Reliable is dedicated to delivering quality products, displaying professionalism within the firm, seeking new opportunities for expansion and profitability, and providing an environment for individual success. If you have a commercial or residential construction project that you need taken care of, please contact Anne Arundel County’s largest site-work contractor today by calling 410-987-0313 or visiting our website. You can also follow Reliable Contracting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Reliable Contracting Company serves the following and surrounding counties: Annapolis, Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Howard, Prince George, St. Mary’s, Talbot, and Washington D.C.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 31st, 2023 at 1:14 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.