ENVIRONMENT

UDOT crews keep close eye on road buckling as temperatures heat up

Jun 6, 2024, 5:18 PM | Updated: 6:24 pm

MIDVALE — As Utah’s weather heats up, transportation crews are closely watching for road buckling.

It happened Wednesday evening in the Salt Lake Valley, on the collector ramp to eastbound and westbound I-215.

I-15 to I-215 connector reopens in Midvale after road buckles due to heat

“It can be very hazardous,” Ron Wells, who works for the Utah Department of Transportation incident management, said.

But, he noted, it’s not as common to see it occur in early June.

“It kind of was a little early,” Wells said Thursday afternoon on patrol in his truck. “But it was quite warm yesterday, so I’m not surprised to see it happen.”

Roads buckle due to heat and moisture in the pavement, which Wells said he and his crews constantly watch for.

“Usually, we’ll see crumbling or chunks of cement in the roadway,” he said. “As it buckles and cars run over it, it breaks it up.”

Buckling can cause serious damage to vehicles, Wells said. In the most recent incident Wednesday, crews shut down the collector ramp and worked overnight to repair the damage. It was reopened Thursday just in time for the morning commute.

UDOT spokesman John Gleason said buckling typically happens on older parts of the road, but it’s still hard to anticipate.

“There’s not a lot of warning that something like this is going to happen,” Gleason said. “When they happen, we have to respond very quickly, shut down the road, so that nobody has any car or vehicle damage.”

Wells is grateful buckling doesn’t happen too often. But when it does, he takes it seriously.

“It’s a constant, constant thing that we’re looking for,” Wells said. “Part of the heat and summer of Utah.”

UDOT urges any drivers who notice buckling on the road to call 911 and report it so crews can take care of it as quickly as possible.

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UDOT crews keep close eye on road buckling as temperatures heat up