New York State Local Technical Assistance Program

What is the proper technique for filling potholes?

Tire compacting a patched pothole

Throw & Roll!

Unless you own or rent a spray patch truck or trailer, most agencies fill potholes with cold patch. However, too many agencies fill potholes by just throwing the material into the hole and expecting traffic to finish the compaction. Typical survival rates for such “Throw and Go” patches is less than 10 percent. Patches placed one day are often gone the very next day.


A much more effective technique is called “Throw and Roll.” The only difference is that the truck is used to compact the material. Modern high pressure truck tires do a fairly good job of compaction. To improve the survival rate even more, spend a bit more for the patch and get a modified cold patch mix with a polymer. Such mixes can be purchased off state bids from NYS OGS. The addition of a polymer to the cold patch with the “Throw and Roll” technique increases the survival rate to well over 50 percent! While the initial cost is more, crews don’t have to go back again and again to fill the same potholes and the total cost is less. And the public has less potholes to deal with!

Throw and Roll Patching
1. Place the patch material in the hole.
2. Roll over the patch with the truck tire.
3. Make sure the patch has some crown (1/4”).
4. Move on to the next pothole.


NYS Office of General Services Commodity Contracts
(look under Highway Bituminous Materials, Cold Patch

Nuggets & Nibbles Article - Save Money by Spending More (Summer 2008)

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License icon

This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.