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Record-setting temps cause dozens of roads to buckle in Twin Cities metro

Don't drive on buckled pavement, and call 911 if you see pavement issues.
The pavement buckled on westbound Highway 10 near Clear Lake.

The pavement buckled on westbound Highway 10 near Clear Lake.

The heatwave, which is set to continue through much of this week, has caused dozens of pavement issues on Minnesota roads the past few days.

The incident pictured above happened on the shoulder of westbound Highway 10, west of Clear Lake, over the weekend and was repaired quickly, Jake Loesch of MnDOT tweeted Monday morning.

The stretch of record-setting temperatures over the weekend caused 28 incidents of "varying pavement issues" or pavement buckles around the Twin Cities metro area that MnDOT responded to fix, Loesch told Bring Me The News on Monday. He did not have a statewide number.

The pavement issues over the past few days included: pavement buckling along southbound Highway 65 near Mississippi Street in Fridley early Monday morning, according to KSTP Traffic; pavement buckling on Highway 19/East College Drive from Mustang Trail to Jewett Street on June 3, forcing the road to be reduced to one lane through Monday, MnDOT District 8 tweeted; and the road buckling on Highway 61 northbound near 80th Street in Cottage Grove on June 4, per WCCO Traffic

Extreme heat also caused roads to buckle in WisconsinNorth Dakota and Iowa over the weekend. 

With the extreme heat in the forecast through Thursday, more roads around the state could buckle, so stay alert. 

Why does this happen?

Pavement can buckle or fail when air temperatures spike, as they have in recent days, MnDOT says. The sun heats up the pavement, expanding it. And the warmer the temps, the more the pavement material expands. 

And when there's not enough space for the pavement to expand (when a road is built, it is cut into segments to create space for expansion and contraction of the pavement), then pavement can buckle or "blow up," MnDOT says. 

This is more common on older, concrete pavement roads, while blacktop/bituminous pavement is more flexible. Blacktop, though, can create a bump that's similar to a frost heave when it heats up, but this is more common in areas where concrete and blacktop meet, MnDOT notes.

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If pavement does buckle, the issue becomes a MnDOT priority as it can be very dangerous for motorists, the agency says. Crews who are patching or mowing are reassigned to fix the issue. 

If you're driving and see a buckle in the road, do not drive over it. Slow down and move into another lane, MnDOT says. Then call 911 to report it so it can be fixed.

And AAA Wisconsin says if you hit a buckle in a road, pull to the side of the road, put on your hazards and stay buckled while you call for help. 

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With heavy traffic, humidity and temperatures hovering around the 90 degree mark, the Minnesota Department of Transportation says its ready to respond to any road buckling on the state's highways. MnDOT says so far, no roads have buckled due to the conditions.