Hot weather increases chances for pavement buckling - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Hot weather increases chances for pavement buckling

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MADISON (WKOW) --- Warmer weather is keeping Wisconsin Department of Transportation workers busy.

Officials have reported more than a dozen incidents of pavement buckling across the state. And with more intense heat on the way, it could cause even more problems.

"We had two in the south part of the state. We had 15 so far in the state, actually 16 today. We had another one down by Beloit today, so we had 16 statewide so far this year," said Barry Daye, Chief Materials Engineer.

Pavement buckles are most common when the weather quickly goes from cool to very hot, causing pavement to expand. This can cause concrete slabs of pavement to push against each other. And if the pressure becomes great enough, the pavement can buckle.

"We can't predict when or where it may happen. We know when conditions might be right. We generally know that pavements that are older than 10 years old are going to be more susceptible to buckling," Daye said.

In 2012, an SUV went airborne on Highway 29 in Chippewa County after the pavement buckled under the high temperatures.

"If we get to a situation like we had a few years ago where the concrete was strong and somebody didn't slow down, you could vault. But those are very extreme and very rare when those happen," Daye said.

Buckling is more common on roads like the Beltline because it's paved with concrete, not asphalt.

Strips, or joints, in the road are designed to handle some of the expansion and contraction that happens when the weather gets very hot.

"We have similar roads that look like asphalt, but might have concrete under them, where you might see that happen as well," Daye said.

While it’s difficult to predict if or where buckling may occur, WisDOT offers the following tips for motorists:

· Slow down, buckle up and eliminate distractions to focus your full attention on the roadway. Along with pavement issues, other concerns this time of year can include deer or debris on the roadway.

· Watch for slowing traffic and be ready to move over for all roadside workers including highway crews as they repair damaged pavement.

· Before your trip, check the 511 Travel Information system ( for the latest on any incidents or delays.

· If necessary, report serious pavement issues by calling 911. Be ready to provide specific location information.

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