Hot Weather Brings Pavement Buckling

AMES, Iowa -- This stretch of hot, sunny weather could be doing some bad things to pavement on Iowa's highways and interstates.

"The concrete pavements are expanding due to the higher temperatures. The other thing that plays into that--usually it happens a lot when the nighttime temperatures don't cool off a whole lot, so that we just continue to build up heat in that pavement," says Chris Brakke with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

He says heat-related pavement buckling is more likely to happen in older pavement.

"Over time the joints that we have cut in the pavement will get filled in so there's less room for any expansion to occur--any thermal expansion," Brakke says.

He says buckles then happen when the only why the pavement can move is vertically.

Brakke says the best thing drivers can do is pay close attention to the roadway, especially during extended periods of high temperatures.

"We can't predict it. We know it probably will start occurring, but we certainly can't predict when and where that will happen either because it's so variable," he says.

Brakke says pavement can easily reach 125 degrees on a hot, sunny day.

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Photo: Getty Images

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