Summer’s here and Iowa drivers are warned to be on the lookout for shifting blocks of pavement creating potholes or mini-ramps that could damage their vehicles. Will Zitterich, in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Office of Maintenance, says so-called pavement blow-ups can become a serious road hazard as the heat of summer is starting to be felt.
Zitterich says, "I would expect to see much more of it because we’ve had a lot of rain recently so the ground is pretty moist and as we end up with a week or so of warm temperatures, the pavements are getting about as warm as they’re going to get."
Zitterich says that combination of rain and hot weather can mean plenty of blow-ups, where the concrete breaks apart and sometimes juts up, making a ramp. He says the blow-outs may hit afternoon commuters the worst. He says he’d expect them during the later part of the day after the sun’s been shining on the road, adding heat, breaking down the pavement at faulted places.
Zitterich says when a blow-up occurs, drivers will likely see chunks of the pavement come out of place.
He says "If the pavement is really pretty old and kind of rotten, then the pieces are going to be much smaller. As the pavement is newer and stronger, the pieces could be rather large and it could be to the point where the pavement doesn’t actually crack and break off, it just kind of lifts up."
Zitterich says pavement blow-ups can be a nuisance for the DOT because they require road crews to be taken away from scheduled maintenance projects. He says "It causes us a lot of headaches and it’s an emergency situation we’ve got to go out and fix. It isn’t something you can pre-plan for and it takes time and effort away from something else we would do. We spend about 400-thousand dollars a year doing that." Zitterich says if you notice what may be a pavement blow-up, contact your local law enforcement agency so traffic can be routed around the area.