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VDOT crews on alert for buckling pavement due to the heat

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Posted at 3:15 PM, Jul 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-07 15:16:46-04

RICHMOND – Extreme summer heat can bring cracked, uneven and buckling pavement, and VDOT is asking drivers – especially motorcyclists – be on the lookout for problem spots and work zones in case crews need to make emergency repairs.

Motorists are encouraged to report buckling pavement, potholes and other road issues by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).

Road buckling is caused during periods of high temperatures when concrete expands. Buckling is prevalent in the mid-Atlantic states of Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Minor buckling was found on Interstate 395 (HOV reversible lanes) near Seminary Road in the Northern Virginia District on Tuesday, and repairs have been made. Repairs are made by removing the area that has buckled and patching it with asphalt or concrete. Future buckling is less likely in the same area since the buckling relieves the expansive pressures.

“Consistent temperatures in the mid- to high-90s have put road surfaces across the state at risk for buckling,” said Andy Babish, VDOT’s State Materials Engineer. “Pavement expands in the heat, and cannot contract if it does not cool down enough overnight. It continues to expand, and that’s when we could see damage.”

VDOT crews are on special alert for emergency repairs this weekend as temperatures are expected to reach in excess of 100 degrees. Drivers are asked to be prepared for lane closures if crews need to mill and repave the road surface.