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Intense heat causes I-215 road buckling; lanes closed

I-215 BUCKLING.jpg
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 23:37:23-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Two lanes of west belt Interstate 215 near 5400 South in Taylorsville are closed due to road buckling caused by the intense heat, and the roadway continues to rise.

When crews first arrived on the scene, it was six inches tall, but is now 10 inches and rising.

"As its been sitting and we’ve been sitting here… we’ve watched it rise a couple of inches just in the last few hours," said Utah Highway Patrol Sargeant Mary Kaye Lucas.

Motorists are urged to avoid the area if possible, or at the very least, slow down. The lanes now under repair will be closed at least until tomorrow morning.

Highway officials say when the panels expand in an extreme heat wave, they have nowhere to go but up, making repairs a challenge.

"We cut out the affected area and in this case we’ve opted for a quick patch that should cure with in 2-4 hours we will have a pretty firm setting there," said Utah Department of Transportation official John Gleason.

Drivers must use the left two lanes around the affected area, so delays should be expected.

UDOT and the Utah Highway Patrol also warn motorists that high heat--which will continue in Utah through the week, and probably beyond--could cause additional buckling on the state's freeways, so stay alert, and scan the horizan for road disruptions.

In mid-June, 12th Street in Ogden was closed to one lane due to buckling which required repairs before the road could be fully opened.

Streets buckle in extreme heat for a number of reasons, including "thermal expansion," which occurs when concrete, which expands in the heat, has nowhere to go. Blacktop pavement may buckle when it comes up against concrete.