Heat pavement buckle

A Columbia County Highway Department crew worked to repair a pavement buckle on Highway 16 in Portage in 2016.

Hot weather in Wisconsin can cause a variety of problems, such as more mosquitoes, more parched throats and... pavement buckling?

It's that time of year when motorists need to be alert to concrete heaving out of pavement, and the subsequent highway crews trying to make repairs as fast as possible.

Pavement buckled on Wednesday in the left lane of southbound Interstate 39 just north of Portage, and it took Columbia County highway workers about 2 1/2 hours to fix the pavement before the lane was able to accept traffic once again.

"Pavement buckles are the most common during the first few heat waves of the season, when the weather quickly goes from cool to very hot, causing pavement to expand," the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said in a news release.

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The expansion forces slabs of concrete to push against each other, and if the pressure is too much, concrete will buckle and heave up into the traffic lane.

It's impossible to say where or when pavement could buckle, so the DOT said drivers should be looking out for buckling by scanning the lanes ahead.

If highway crews are out fixing the pavement, slow down and move over if possible to give the workers more room and a safer work environment.

You can also check the state's highway travel map at https://511wi.gov/map for any incidents or delays on the roads, and if you come across a pavement buckle, call 911.

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