Roads start to buckle earlier than normal

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Intense summer heat has not hit Wisconsin yet, but in less than a week, parts of two major highways in the area have buckled. One of them was in Eau Claire on Sunday; the other, in Chippewa Falls Tuesday night. Experts say this is highly unusual for the temps we've had this June.

The part of South Hastings way between Melby Street and Delbert Road buckled during the weekend. It was nearly six feet wide and eight inches tall.

Roads typically buckle when the temperatures are in the 90's. The city says road temperatures run higher than air temps, which could be a contributing factor.

The city of Eau Claire Street Department says this morning road temperatures were up to 110 degrees.

“It's just that concrete is expanding from the heat of the day; it just starts to push and when it starts to push it got to give somewhere,” explained City of Eau Claire Street Maintenance Manager, Steven Thompson.

Thompson says residential streets typically don't buckle. It’s usually on longer roads and highways.

“I've seen video of ones that, I think it was in Chippewa on Highway 29 last, where there was a buckle that actually looked like a ramp. But we've never seen anything quite that bad within the city of Eau Claire,” said Thompson.

“It's scary! I wouldn't want to be talking part in any of that kind of driving,” said a concerned driver Deirdre Degrood.

Degrood has lived in Eau Claire for 35 years. She says as a driver she has hasn't seen many buckled roads, but when she does they're a concern and a big hazard.

“There are lose pieces of concrete, usually humps in the road that can throw the car out of the control or cause damage to the tires of the cars,” said Thompson.

The fix can be pricey. Thompson says it costs more than three-thousand dollars per incident. Fortunately, the city doesn't see more than three to four buckled roads a summer.

“Which is a good things; we can't afford any more than that,” added Degrood.

Another unusual thing about the buckled road on Hastings Way is that it covered both lanes of the road. Thompson says when roads buckle, it happens really fast. If you see it happen, call the police or the state patrol, so it can be fixed as soon as possible.


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