The durability of roads is dependent on the proper screening of the variations in subsurface geological characteristics and conditions through geo-engineering investigations and good construction practices. In this study, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) technique was used to investigate the subsurface defects and potential failures along the substrate of Etioro-Akoko highway, Ondo State, southwestern Nigeria. Results of the inverse model resistivity sections generated for the two investigated traverses showed four distinct subsurface layers. The shallow clayey topsoil, weathered layer, and partially weathered/fractured bedrock have resistivity values ranging from 4–150 ohm-m, 10–325 ohm-m, and 205–800 ohm-m, with thickness values of 0–2 m, 0.5–12.5 m, and less than few meters to > 24 m, respectively. The fresh bedrock is characterised by resistivity generally in excess of 1000 ohm-m. The bedrock mirrored gently to rapidly oscillating bedrock troughs and relatively inclined deep penetrating multiple fractures: F1–F’1, F2–F’2 and F3–F’3, with floater in-between the first two fractures. These delineated subsurface characteristic features were envisaged as potential threats to the pavement of the highway. Pavement failures in the area could be attributed to the incompetent clayey sub-base/substrate materials and the imposed stresses on the low load-bearing fractured bedrock and deep weathered troughs by heavy traffics. Anticipatory construction designs that included the use of competent sub-base materials and bridges for the failed segments and fractured zones along the highway, respectively, were recommended.