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Pavement buckling affecting Wisconsin roadways during record-setting heat

A section of pavement buckle on Clairemont Avenue in Eau Claire, Wis. on June 5, 2021.
A section of pavement buckle on Clairemont Avenue in Eau Claire, Wis. on June 5, 2021. Pavement buckling can occur in hot weather.(Eau Claire Police Department)
Published: Jun. 6, 2021 at 10:24 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Record-setting temperatures in western Wisconsin are causing major thoroughfares to buckle, impacting traffic this weekend.

Pavement buckling has occurred in Eau Claire on the Highway 53 bypass and on Clairemont Avenue already this weekend after temperatures soared into the mid- to upper-90′s, setting new records at several weather-reporting stations across Wisconsin, including Eau Claire.

Elsewhere in Wisconsin, pavement buckling forced an onramp to Interstate 90 in Columbia Co. in south-central Wisconsin to briefly close for repairs Saturday, while Interstate 41 near Neenah also had pavement buckling Saturday.

Sunday’s temperatures are expected to be solidly in the 90′s once again, so motorists are being advised to watch for pavement buckling as they use roadways in Wisconsin.

The DOT says that pavement buckles when road temperatures quickly go from being cool to hot. According to the DOT, slabs of pavement will expand and push against other slabs, and when the pressure is high enough, causes the pavement to break down and create bumps or dips, or even burst if the pressure is high enough.

While buckling pavement is most common in summer months, warm temperatures this weekend increases the risk for pavement buckling, according to the DOT. Because it is difficult to predict when or where pavement will buckle, the DOT offers these tips for motorists:

  • Slow down, buckle up and focus your full attention on the roadway.
  • Watch for slowing traffic and be ready to move over for all roadside workers, including highway crews as they repair damaged pavement.
  • Before your trip, check the 511 Travel Information system (511wi.gov) for the latest on any incidents or delays.
  • If necessary, report serious pavement issues by calling 911. Be ready to provide specific location information.

The DOT is reminding motorists to be on the lookout for highway repair crews and pavement buckling, and to slow down and move over for roadside workers.

The heat has caused Clairemont Ave to buckle. The northbound lanes are closed between Cameron St and Vine St. Crews are working and hoping to have the road open by 7pm.

Posted by Eau Claire Police Department on Saturday, June 5, 2021

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