November 24, 2014

Highway blow-ups causing concern (AUDIO)

Some of our roads are blowing up because of the sustained summer heat.  Officials say the problems with Missouri’s highways this summer began during the cold days of  last winter.

Concrete is not as solid as it looks.   Highway Department Maintenance Engineer Ken Warbritton says it contracts in cold weather and expands in hot weather.  And when sand and gravel and other materials get into the seams between pavements in the winter, the stage is set for problems in the summer. That’s because that material takes away expansion room on days like these. The expanding concrete slab has no room to expand and pushes itself above the regulated pavement line at the joint.

He says segments of the road can rise as much as six inches, sometimes when vehicles travel over them and put enough pressure on the stressed pavement to make the segment move.  Warbritton says the department crews try to make repairs within 24 hours–meaning workers might show up on the roads unexpectedly. He hopes drivers stay alert.

He says motorists should report pavement blow-ups by calling the MODOT toll-free number, 888-275-6636. 

AUDIO: Warbritton interview 6:27