Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715


July 6, 2012

Motorcyclists asked to use extra caution

RICHMOND – Extreme summer heat can bring cracked, uneven and “buckling” pavement, so the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) asks that drivers – especially motorcyclists – be on the lookout for problem spots and work zones in case crews need to make emergency repairs. Road buckling is caused during periods of high temperatures when concrete expands. Buckling is prevalent in the mid-Atlantic states of Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Minor buckling was found on Interstate 395 (HOV reversible lanes) near Seminary Road in the Northern Virginia District on Tuesday, and repairs have been made. Repairs are made by removing the area that has buckled and patching it with asphalt or concrete. Future buckling is less likely in the same area since the buckling relieves the expansive pressures.
“Consistent temperatures in the mid- to high-90s have put road surfaces across the state at risk for buckling,” said Andy Babish, VDOT’s State Materials Engineer. “Pavement expands in the heat, and cannot contract if it does not cool down enough overnight. It continues to expand, and that’s when we could see damage.”

VDOT crews are on special alert for emergency repairs this weekend as temperatures are expected to reach in excess of 100 degrees. Drivers are asked to be prepared for lane closures if crews need to mill and repave the road surface.
VDOT is working with the state materials engineer and the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research to analyze core samples and test pavement integrity to determine what can lead to buckling. New construction materials and methods are constantly being developed for improved serviceability. These tests may help identify areas that are more susceptible to buckling in the future.

Motorists are encourage to report buckling pavement, potholes and other road issues by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623) and online.

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012