The summer months pose a threat to motorists they might not realize: road buckling.

After constant temperatures above 90 degrees, road material can exceed its allotted space and push upward. Engineers account for this, but the problem still can persist, especially if roads aren’t properly maintained.

The Missouri Department of Transportation describes “pavement blow-ups” as rifts that occur when a concrete roadway surface expands at a crack or joint where moisture has seeped in. That crack weakens the pavement, and the heat causes the pavement to buckle and warp, creating holes in the surface. Despite the term, the pavement does not actually explode.

Moderate temperatures in June have led way to more typical temperatures. During the next seven days, all but two are forecast to be in the 90s.

Buckling is more common — but not limited to — older roadways.

“While it is difficult to know where or when a pavement blow-up will happen, our maintenance personnel will monitor state routes for these blow-ups,” MoDOT Central District Maintenance Engineer Jason Shafer said in a news release. “As soon as we encounter one of these spots, or are notified of them by the public, crews will make repairs as soon as possible.”

Shafer said roads that have been impacted by flooding this summer could be more susceptible to the pavement blowups.

Motorists should watch the road in front of them carefully and watch out for what might look like breaks, or what might appear to be oversized pot holes, in the roadways.

Slow down, avoid the hazard then report it to MoDOT at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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