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Crews battling buckling roads amid near-record Utah heat

Posted at 1:47 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 15:47:49-04

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — As the air heats up, so do Utah roads; sometimes being as much as 30 degrees hotter than the air. That also means that roadway buckling can happen this time of year due to the extreme heat.

It's a little unnerving to think that roads drivers are on every day might suddenly become dangerous. But it's an issue that the Utah Department of Transportation faces regularly during the summer.

Crews need to repair up to 40 road buckling instances across the state each year.

"During the hot, dreaded summer, we get what you call a blow up," said UDOT roadway operations manager Jake Brown. "A good way to describe blow ups is when the concrete becomes too tight and can't handle the pressure and has nowhere to go but up.

Brown said while blow ups can be caught early, when and where the next one will occur is all up in the air.

"We can see signs of those things happening. And so if we can pick those out on the side of the road, we'll kind of wash them, and then if they're going to, if we know they're going to go, we'll get in there and fix them right away before they become a problem."

A buckling road was discovered on 11400 South in South Jordan over the weekend, which was temporarily fixed by crews on Monday and Tuesday.

"Getting the road open is primary," said Brown. "We take the traveling public always into our mind when we're doing those things."