Pothole Repair

Potholes typically occur on older pavement and can pop up overnight. The Illinois Tollway mobilizes maintenance teams systemwide to address these problems as quickly as possible.

If you see a pothole during your ride on the Tollway, please call *999 to report it.

Anatomy of a Pothole (PDF)

How do potholes form?

Potholes start to form when moisture such as rain or snow trickles into cracks and gets under the pavement. Cracks are small at first. But with the stress of heavy traffic and continuing temperature changes, cracks can turn into potholes.

As temperatures drop, water in the cracks expands, making the rift larger and providing space for more moisture to collect during future thaws.

With dramatic temperature changes, from freeze to thaw, more water collects under the surface; when this water freezes, it expands and pushes up the old pavement. This further weakens the pavement and exposes cracks to snow plows.

Once the ice melts, a space is left in the pavement. The weakened pavement is then under the pressure of plows, salt and heavy truck traffic.

What does the Tollway do to repair the potholes?

The Tollway has crews at each of its 11 maintenance sites dedicated to pothole repair. During periods when potholes are most prevalent, Tollway maintenance staff may work around the clock to manage potholes in critical areas. Repairs are scheduled to have the least impact on traffic.

Storms and breakdown of old pavement require temporary patches almost daily on older roadways until we can mobilize crews to grind off the crumbling layer of asphalt and lay down a new layer that will last through the winter.

What should I do as a result of damage to my vehicle?

Safety is our first concern. If you get a flat tire caused by a pothole, move your vehicle to the shoulder if you can do so safely before attempting to change the tire. Call *999 to request assistance if needed.

To file an insurance claim

In order to file an insurance claim, a police report must be filed with the Illinois State Police. Call 630-241-6800 extension 5042 to file a report for non-criminal damage, as well as incidents that don't involve injuries, tolls or hit-and-runs.

Please have the following information available when filing the report:

Driver Information

  • Name, address, phone number, daytime contact information, date of birth
  • Driver's license number, state, classification

Vehicle Information

  • Make, model, year of manufacture
  • License plate number, state
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Name and address of owner (if not driver)

Insurance Information

  • Name of company
  • Policy number

What can I do to protect my vehicle from pothole damage?

  • Slow down and pay close attention to the road ahead. This increases your reaction time and could lower your risk of serious damage.
  • Talk to your auto mechanic. Ask a trusted mechanic to look at your vehicle for uneven wear patterns in your tires. These may indicate misalignment. Also be sure to request a review of your shocks and brakes. Fixing any of these issues may help your vehicle's chances of withstanding a future pothole hit.
  • Avoid driving too close to the side of the road. Potholes are more common in weakened areas, which tend to be either joint points or more heavily traveled portions of the roadway (where tires actually touch).
  • Clean your headlights. Wiping down your headlights on a regular basis is a quick, cheap and easy way to maximize your visibility.
  • Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you in order to increase time to recognize a pothole.
  • Properly inflate your tires. Underinflated tires put you at risk of rim damage and overinflated tires are more susceptible to damage.