MoDot warns of road blow ups as heat rises

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JEFFERSON CITY - As summer heats up, so do the roads, causing them to expand and weaken, resulting in pavement "blow-ups."

Roads expand when moisture that has seeped into pavement causes pressure and eventually bubbles up like a speed bump. 

Randy Aulbur, central district maintenance engineer for MoDOt, said he hasn't heard of any blow-ups yet, but expects to see them as temperatures rise.

"We're going to see temperatures up in the 90's this weekend, so that's the beginning of it," Aulbur said. "When those temperatures start getting up to that threshold that's where you'll start to see that relief need to happen." 

Pavement blow-ups are different than pot holes. Pot holes are caused by expansion and contraction of pavement during the winter, whereas pavement blow-ups are caused from high temperatures and pavement growth creating pressure in the pavement. 

Aulbur said MoDot has crews looking for pavement blow-ups, but encourages drivers to call in if they see one. 

Once a blow-up is reported, MoDot can either replace and re-pour pavement or grind the pavement until it is smooth again. 

Aulbur said freshly overlaid roads are more likely to have blow-ups because of the darker color absorbing more heat than the older, lighter colored roads. 

"You can just tell the difference between an overlay that's really dark in black and then an overlay that's aged a little bit overtime," Aulbur said. "It starts to lose that color and doesn't take as much heat as a result." 

Drivers can call MoDOT's customer service center at 1-888-275-6636 to report any road blow-ups.

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