Skip to comments.Heat buckles pavement, snarling Twin Cities traffic
Posted on 06/07/2011 12:30:26 PM PDT by WOBBLY BOB
St. Paul, Minn. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is warning motorists to watch out for roads that might buckle without warning.
MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard said the heat and humidity had caused pavement to heave on some Twin Cities metro highways.
Monday afternoon lanes were closed in I-94 in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Barnard said heat damaged roads in more than 20 places.
Barnard said he has not heard of accidents associated with buckling pavement. But he'd heard reports of damage to cars.
Older concrete highways are more prone to heave up, as debris fills the cracks between the panels, leaving no place for the pavement to expand.
(Excerpt) Read more at minnesota.publicradio.org ...
I’m dreading walking out of here after work....
Happened on one of our roads this morning, too. Backed up the commute considerably...
Wonder where all the $$$ is in our Transportation Fund to fix stuff like this? Oh, that’s RIGHT! Former Governor ‘Diamond Jim’ Doyle, D, WI raided it to balance the state budget a few years back! And no one said a thing...
101 right now.
at least you got to work! my car is toast. I have a rental, glad it works and has high output A/C .
wouldn’t want to hit a canyon in the road on the cycle.
How do you cover this story and not give the temperatures/humidity involved, and why the Twin Cities are experiencing this problem when states across this nation have temperatures/humidity far higher, and don’t?
Is someone trying to game the system to alarm people about global warming or something, or has the Twin Cities been using sub-par highway methods?
I was wondering that too. Here at about the same latitude (eastern WA) we sometimes get to over 110 in the summer and no buckling. AZ., Death Valley, etc. much hotter yet with pavement above 160.
The road explosions happen here every summer. Because of the wide range of temperatures here from winter to spring, the roads are subject to so much expansion and contraction, a material that will withstand the exteremes hasn’t been invented yet.
Wind off the lake and 58 in TwoHarbors. http://www.wunderground.com/US/MN/Two_Harbors.html
Sounds like the “shovel ready” money isn’t reaching the road department.
Thanks Steve, good points.
Having lived in the Twin Cities for 1/2 my life, we have two seasons. Winter and pothole-road construction season.
Yea someones trying to promote global warming again.
That may be true. I appreciate the response.
We may not go quite as low but from -24 to +117 (approx. extremes in last 20 years) we do. Probably about the same net difference.
Thanks Zathras. I know New York City seems to have those two seasons also, hearing the city’s residents complain about them potholes so much.
It’s not the heat, it’s the temperature differential. Consider, it’s not unusual for parts of the frozen North (North and South Dakota, Minnesota) to get down to -40 during the winter, then when summer comes along it heats up to 110. That’s a 150 temperature differential.
Contrast that to your Death Valley, which ranges between +30 to 160 - that’s only a 130 degree variation (20 degree less variation). When that asphalt expands and contracts - it’s gotta go somewhere.
They have a history of neglect around there.
And if it were invented this afternoon; it would be a far cry more expensive than a bucket of asphalt!!
think they are trying to help Romney?
highs suppose only in 60’s thrusday
Come to the west side of Washington. 10 months of rain, two months of summer. Three to four weeks ( Maybe) of hot weather and lots and lots of liberals sipping lattes.
Yep, in Northern CA are temps hit highs of 106-110 for most of August every year but no buckling that I know of. Sounds like shoddy construction to me. Plus, paved roads have been in existence for about 100 years and they are just now having problems?
good day to be at Madeline Island.
We have a lot of trouble with potholes and frost heaves here in Vermont. It’s the freezing and thawing that does it.
Concrete roads proved to be a mistake in the northern states, at least here in New England. When Eisenhower put in the interstates, they were mostly done in concrete, and that proved to be a mistake. First they tried resurfacing with asphalt, and eventually they replaced most of them entirely with asphalt, because they just kept buckling. They left expansion cracks between the slabs, but that just didn’t work.
As I pointed out, our area has experienced around a 140F differential. Also have a number of concrete freeways and buckling is unheard of. My conclusion is that MN roadway engineering is deficient, to include bridges.
High-tech concrete technology has a famous past
Almost 1,900 years ago, the Romans built what continues to be the world’s largest unreinforced solid concrete dome in the worldthe Pantheon. The secret, probably unknown to the Emperor Hadrian’s engineers at the time, was that the lightweight concrete used to build the dome had set and hardened from the inside out. This internal curing process enhanced the material’s strength, durability, resistance to cracking, and other properties so that the Pantheon continues to be used for special events to this day.
we should have hired non-union Romans.
In a bipartisan letter to President Obama, Senator Conrad and 43 senators said a swiftly finalizing appropriate regulations for coal ash provides the "best solution for the environment and for the economy."
The senators said the environmental advantages of the beneficial use of coal ash in products such as concrete and road base are well-established. They noted coal ash makes concrete stronger and cuts down on the production of more energy-consuming cements. A 2010 study by the University of Wisconsin and the Electric Power Research Institute found the beneficial use of coal ash reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by an equivalent of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, annual energy consumption by 162 trillion British thermal units, and annual water usage by 32 billion gallons.
Senator Conrad also highlighted the fact that an EPA hazardous waste designation would "overwhelm existing hazardous waste disposal capacity" and strain critical budget and staff resources.
The only way this would matter is if the asphalt was laid during the dead of winter or if it somehow gains asphalt 'volume' when it contracts.
If it were laid in the spring or summer, then the amount of expansion during the heat of the summer months would be minimal.
Since asphalt is not a living, breathing entity, no new asphalt 'cells' are added when it contracts. So, it's the same amount of asphalt during the entire 12 months of a year.
The other thing is sunshine.
You can easily have asphalt 40F above ambient if the solar load is right.
There are two seasons in Minnesota.
Winter and road repair.
But, given the differences in latitude, there will always be less sunlight striking the northern states than there is in Death Valley or Arizona at any time of year.
So, the temperature of the asphalt in the lower latitudes will actually be higher than it would in the higher ones.
True. The Romans also invented the water mill, although they never made widespread use of it because they had slaves to do the heavy work.
So it wasn’t really developed until the middle ages, mostly in monasteries. That was the basis of industrial and technological development for more than a thousand years, until it was finally replaced by the steam engine.
This is one if the reasons why I have advocated a transition to rubber roads and asphalt tires for so many years.
Well, one person stated it was because of the wide temperature variations. I’m not quite sure I can buy into that. Let’s recall that on some days, the temperature can change as much as 50 degrees. If my memory is accurate, I’ve actually heard of a few rare cases where the temperature change much more than that without widespread road problems.
The omissions were rather glaring huh.
Thanks for the response.
No, but that’s an interesting way of asking?
I’m interested to know the reason for placing the same spelling of Zathras in there three times.
Am I missing an inside joke or something else?
Slow commute home tonight. The left lane of 77, about a quarter mile south of 35E in AV came up. By the time I got there, they were putting the finishing touches on about an 80 square foot patch of asphalt.
Nope. This happens each and every year here.
What is it, what is different with the pavement used in northern areas? I’d never even heard of a frost heave until I went airborn a short distance in a rental Taurus, no sign, just a lit old-fashioned smudepot on the side of the road. I knew something was up, so it did some good, but whoah, was I ever shocked.
That doesn’t happen here, even up in the high country of NC, some areas of which certainly get as cold as central Connecticut, where that memorable introduction occurred, many years ago.
Same with hot weather. Mid nineties are normal summer temps here, with forays into the low hundreds being noteworthy but not at all odd. No pavement buckling.
About the only thing that does it would be very heavy rain over a period of many days. Even then it’s more subsiding than heaving.
Maybe it’s the soil?
I wasn’t talking about daily temp swings. I was talking about our annual temp swings.
In the winter it get to -25 to -30, every year. In the summer it gets well into the 90’s, every year.
In the winter we have snow and ice. Lots of it. The roads are being plowed and scraped constantly. Untold tons of sand, salt and several chemicals are applied to road surfaces.
Small faults appear in the road surfaces. We have many freeze-thaw cycles during any given winter. As the moisture gets into the cracks and freezes, the cracks get bigger. And bigger with each freeze-thaw cycle.
Until such time that the roads are weakened to the point that a massive heat rise causes so much expansion that the roadway pushes straight up, buckling.
The official investigation into the 35W bridge collapse determined that the original design was flawed. Not lack of maint...
OK... I’ve looked at my atlas and I STILL can’t figure out where the 77, 35E and “AV” might be located. Can you clarify that code? lol
Here in the DFW area in 1980, we had about 52 days in a row of temps over 100; with many around 113-115. Didn’t damage the concrete roadways, but drove me crazy trying to water a 1/2 acre of grass with four sprinklers! Couldn’t water until near sundown because of evaporation and parboiling the foliage, so it kept me up until after midnight moving the sprinklers around.
I believe that Summer was followed by a Winter where the temps were in or near single digits for a couple of weeks. That hard freeze wiped out my pool pump and killed a lot of young shrubs, BUT the extreme temperature differences in only a few months did not cause damage on the roadways that many FReepers have mentioned occurs regularly in the Northern States.
Are the Northern States using asphalt just because it’s cheaper than reinforced concrete; even when they know it is not a suitable compound for the environment?
My theory is our road issues are due to the extremes on both ends of the spectrum...throw in heavy use of road salt and that is destruction.
salt eats EVERYTHING and was a contributing factor to the 35W bridge gussets being corroded.
Thank you for the additional comments/explanation. I appreciate it. You folks up there have obviously observed things more closely than I have. Take care.
I believe the reference is to 35E and Cedar Ave in Apple Valley in the southeast area of the metro. This would be south of the Mall of America.