Hot summer temperatures causing Utah roads to buckle

Jul 11, 2023, 9:58 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2023, 3:08 pm

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — High heat is causing Utah roads to buckle.

In the last few days, three areas of roadway have buckled — one of those two days in a row.

“If it’s going to happen, this is generally the time of year we see it happen, because the temperatures are about as hot,” said John Gleason, spokesperson with the Utah Department of Transportation.

Last year, with more than 30 days in the triple digits, roads were still buckling into September. It’s typical to see this in July, not early fall.

It could continue.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for parts of southwest and south-central Utah that will take effect Saturday afternoon and remain in place through Monday evening. High temperatures could reach up to 104 degrees between Sunday and Monday within the section of northern Utah included in the excessive heat watch.

Gleason said the problems take a little time to fix, but UDOT prioritizes the repairs because they can be dangerous, especially on heavy-traveled roads.

“Worst case scenario is you can get damage to your vehicle, or even cause a crash if you’re trying to swerve to miss, so it’s something that we want to address right away.”

Gleason also said UDOT relies heavily on drivers to let them know if there’s a problem. So, if you run into, or over one, you should call 911.

On Tuesday, there were two areas of freeway that buckled — the first on Interstate 15 in Roy.

The second — the west side belt on the southbound side, near 4700 South.

And on Monday, just after crews had patched an area on U.S. Highway 89 in Layton, the road buckled for a second time.

UDOT crews repairing buckling damage on US-89

Gleason said the repairs, which generally include a permanent asphalt patch, can usually be made in a couple of hours. Of course, bigger areas require more time.

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Hot summer temperatures causing Utah roads to buckle