Hot weather increases chances for buckling pavement

Westbound lanes are closed on Highway 29 at Wis 32 near Pulaski due to pavement buckling, May 25, 2018. (WLUK/Ben Krumholz)

SHAWANO COUNTY (WLUK) -- The heat caused a temporary roadblock for travelers heading out for the holiday weekend Friday afternoon on Highway 29.

Part of the highway buckled between Pittsfield and Angelica in Shawano County, causing a several-mile stretch of the road to be closed for about two hours.

“I can't think of a worse time, maybe the 4th of July weekend, but Memorial Day Friday, I don't really think it was the best time to have Highway 29 buckling up,” said Deputy Craig Rekoske of the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

The massive crack, which spanned both lanes of traffic, brought cars to a standstill, but not before causing minor damage to a few vehicles. No one was hurt.

“We've usually found when the temperatures rise and it seems like when the temperatures rise the first time of that year, something with the concrete, it just buckles,” said Rekoske.

29 is Shawano County's busiest highway. Rekoske says it typically buckles two or three times a year.

“This is probably the most significant buckling, not only due to the time of the year with Memorial Day, but also how much it was of the entire highway,” said Rekoske.

Rekoske says it's impossible to be completely ready for buckling to happen, but it's important for crews to act quickly when it does.

“So with a short term fix they take what is commonly referred to as a cold press or a cold black top solution that doesn't need to be heated,” said Rekoske. “The blacktop will then harden enough for cars to go over.”

With more hot temperatures coming, drivers say they'll be ready incase the pavement decides to pop again.

“Pay attention, because you never know what's in front of you,” said Donald Padgett of Kimberly.

It is also a good idea to check 511wi.gov for the latest on any incidents or delays that affect your travel plans.

WisDOT also reiterates the importance of slowing down, being aware of your surroundings and always wear your seat belt.

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