Heat to blame for more pavement explosions - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Heat to blame for more pavement explosions

(WAOW) -

The rising temperatures are continuing to cause problems on area roads. State transportation leaders said they received reports of 17 other situations involving cracked concrete on the Fourth of July.

It was a scary scene on Highway 29 near Eau Claire on Sunday. An SUV went airborne -- after a piece of the road buckled underneath it.

Drivers in Marathon County said after seeing that, they're on guard while on the road.

"All of the sudden your car just bounces up and you're like, did I hit something? I don't know," said Travis Schumacher, who lives in Marathon.

Authorities said seven circumstances of exploding pavement were reported in Marathon County -- just on the Fourth of July.

"We've experienced as many as 17 in one day a few years back but a typical summer, we'll have anywhere from four to eight, in that range, depending on the heat," said Marathon County Highway Commissioner Jim Griesbach.

"We ran into it last night when we were coming home from Medford," said Scott Michaelson, who lives in Weston. "There were a couple spots on 29 that were buckled so we slowed down."

Griesbach said it's basic science. When the temperature rises, the concrete expands.

"It happens over time, gently tip up, or they've already experienced some where rocks actually will just fly," said Griesbach. "The road will just basically explode and rocks will fly up out of the ground."

When a report gets called in, workers tear out the cracked concrete and replace it with black top -- a temporary fix until they can resurface the road. State transportation leaders say the chances of seeing buckling streets will be high through the rest of the week, giving drivers one more thing to think about as they hit the road.

"Now when you're driving around it's always in the back of your mind," said Schumacher. "With this heat, you never know if it's just going to drop right out in front of you."

If you see pavement buckling while you're out, you can call your local sheriff's department to report it. And of course, if you see crews working to fix the pavement, make sure to slow to down and give them a little space.

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