UDOT Plans Permanent Patch After Centerville Road Buckling

Jul 24, 2019, 10:21 PM

There was a terrible traffic jam in Centerville after the pavement buckled in the heat on I-15 northbound near Parrish Lane Tuesday at 5 p.m. Concrete roads can take a beating in extreme temperatures. According to UDOT, it’s difficult for maintenance crews to predict when it will happen. Last night, it happened during the evening commute.

“Which is the worst time for something like this to happen because so many people are trying to get home on the eve of a holiday,“ said UDOT Spokesman John Gleason.

As the traffic and the temperature intensified, the pavement buckled. Northbound traffic backed up all the way to North Salt Lake, about 10 miles. A UDOT maintenance crew temporarily patched the interstate with asphalt.

“Much faster than I think we anticipated,” said Gleason. “We thought we were going to have lane closures for several hours. It was just under two hours that they were able to make the temporary repair.”

Tomorrow night, after 10 pm, they will patch it permanently with concrete to match the original surface.

“This is something that happens a couple times per summer and it’s usually when we start creeping up into the upper 90s or 100+ for an extended period of time like we’ve seen here.”

Four years ago, on the I-215 west belt, the road buckled and crumbled causing similar problems during rush hour.

“If you think of it, the road is basically a big puzzle,“ said Gleason.

It is a surface of large, concrete panels connected by expandable joints. Those joints let the panels expand, or contract, in extreme temperatures.

“When we have extreme heat like this those panels expand, and on older pavement, sometimes those joints can get clogged and the panels have nowhere to go but up,“ he said.

The concrete panels crumble against each other, and create a pothole. Older pavement more susceptible.

“This section of I 15,” he said referring to the pavement in Centerville. The pavement there is about 50 to 60 years old. So it’s not something that we can predict. It’s not something that we can prevent.”

UDOT also has to deal with road buckling when the weather is extremely cold. During the winter, the panels will shrink, allowing dirt, water and salt to invade, and crumble the concrete.

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UDOT Plans Permanent Patch After Centerville Road Buckling