HEAT WAVE 2012: Road buckling continues, victim cautions drivers

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wisc. (WEAU) Hot temperatures caused pavement to buckle again Thursday in Chippewa County.

Another stretch of pavement on Highway 29 buckled Thursday afternoon near Boyd.

It was the fifth section of pavement to blow up on Highway 29 in the past week.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said the pavement buckles when slabs expand during hot weather, and push against each other, and that the state saw 17 pavement buckles on major highways on July 4 alone.

According to the Chippewa County Highway Department, maintenance crews of four to a dozen workers, can typically repair highway buckling in about two or three hours.

Corrynn Roach said, along with her husband Adam and three-month-old son Caden were heading home Sunday to Baldwin on Highway 29 West in Chippewa County, after seeing her grandpa when she approached two bump signs.

"To know that something like that could happen to you is unbelievable," Roach said. "When you see two bump signs, you think it will be a minor bump and it ended up being a three foot ramp.

She said she slowed to around 55 miles per hour when her Dodge Journey took off into the air from the buckled ramp.

"It was very scary so I just immediately when we ended up on the side of the road, iI just grabbed my son and I ran, because I knew that there would be more cars coming," she said.

Just after her car landed, a phone captured video of an SUV being launched into the air, at the same spot.

The Chippewa County Highway Department said it's had eight road blowups in the past week.

Commissioner Bruce Stelzner said concrete is more likely to compress in the heat, and gets relief by buckling, and that they have crews on hand to remove broken slabs and replace what's broken.

"These are the worst conditions out there; 100 degree temps, that's when the pavement does fail. Crews that we have are very diligent about going out and working in this kind of weather," Stelzner said.

"Drivers should be prepared for anything on the roadway ... These things can happen very quickly," he said.

"When you see signs that say bump don't assume it's just gonna be a small little bump," Roach said.

The damage done to the Roach's car was an estimated $5,000, she said, but there's been no word on whether the county or state will pay for any of it.

Stelzner said road buckling repairs also run about $5,000 each as well.

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