The extreme heat across the state is creating a dangerous situation for motorists. John Selmer, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says there have been dozens of reports of “pavement blowups” this week.
“Some blowups can just be a little spalling around the joint or, other times, they can blowup and the pavement slab can go up to four feet in the air almost immediately,” Selmer said. So far, no injuries have been reported in any pavement blowups. Selmer says sustained temps of 90-plus degrees and recent rains have combined – providing the near perfect recipe for blowups.
“Really the big player is moisture,” Selmer said. “Heat alone can do it, but if you mix heat and moisture, there’s a greater likelihood of having blowups.” Selmer says motorists should call local police if they spot a blowout.
“Their dispatch centers will get ahold of us and we’ll be out there to take care of them as soon as we can,” Selmer said. In a typical year, Iowa D.O.T. maintenance equipment operators spend up to 4,000 hours making temporary repairs of pavement blowups and another 6,000 hours replacing pavement sections, costing an average of $400,000 annually.