HANNIBAL – As summer temperatures rise, a safety hazard MoDOT doesn’t have
control of and can’t predict also begins to rise…. pavement blowups.
A “blow up” can be described as a big bump in the road that happens without
warning. Northeast Missouri has already seen a few of these roadway buckles
this season, especially in the last week. “Ninety degrees seems to be the magic
number,” said Jennifer Hinson, area engineer for MoDOT. “It rarely happens
below that point, but anywhere above 90 degrees, a blowup is possible.”
Moisture, built up under weakened joints in the roadway, heats and expands
creating stress on the joint. The concrete sections, butted up against one
another, also expand and create pressure. The joints tighten until they
eventually reach capacity, then one or both joints release the pressure in the
easiest way possible — up.
So far this summer, blow ups on Routes 19, 136, 15, 81, 168 and 154 in
northeast Missouri have occurred, and Hinson says, “It’s still early in the
summer…there will be more.”
The main problem when this happens is the potential danger to motorists.
“When a roadway blowup happens, the joint looks like a pile of rocks in the
roadway from a vehicle,” Hinson explained. “Driving over it is like driving
over a speed bump, only you’re usually going a lot faster,” Hinson added.
If you see a blowup, please slow down, and call the highway patrol or the
local sheriff’s department. MoDOT crews will be called to the scene and will
temporarily repair and release the pressure within 2 hours after being notified.
At a later date, crews will be scheduled to perform a complete concrete
replacement at the joint.
All scheduled roadwork is posted on the traveler information map on the day
it begins. Those traveling and the commuting public are encouraged to check the
online map at www.modot.org daily for new work zones. Drivers are also invited
to rate MoDOT work zones online at modot.org. MoDOT also offers e-update
messages sent directly to your email when roadwork is scheduled. Sign up online
or call MoDOT’s customer service center at 1-888-275-6636.