High Temperatures Causing Buckling Pavement

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Under these hot temperatures, cracks in the road that you may not notice could soon turn into large holes and then into larger potholes.

Tall City transportation officials already see the problem of pavement and concrete buckling and shifting.

"During the coldest months, the pavement will contract and open up the cracks even more. During the Summer months, the pavement actually expands," Midland Transportation Superintendent Gabe McClelland, said. "Both forces are a contributing factor to potholes and pavement cracks throughout our streets."

Officials said the problem is worse this year what with all the extreme temperatures the Basin has seen, from below zero this past Winter shooting up past 100 this Summer.

Any signs of cracking can lead to the concrete expanding into nearby pavement, making it buckle.

Officials already have some hard-hit areas pinned down.

"The biggest problem areas are primarily at Loop 250. Midland Drive, Midkiff, Wadley, all Loop 250 intersections," McClelland said.

TxDOT confirmed to NewsWest 9 that this past Monday the pavement at the intersection of Loop 250 and Midkiff buckled and they have fixed it.

But their problem is that there are too many roads that could buckle at any time as they expand.

Cracks carved in the roads become even more dangerous if any nuisance water seeps in.

"What happens when the pavement does crack is now the base and the sub-grade under the pavement is exposed to storm water and nuisance water," McClelland said. "The underlying base is then compromised, and that's where you get your deeper potholes. That's where it could become a public safety issue."

Not only a public safety issue, but a costly issue to the taxpayer.

Of the Midland Transportation Division's $6 million annual budget, half of it will be spent on repairing this damage to the roads.

Officials can fill in the cracks with Chip-Seal Projects, but they can't see every crack.

That's where they're asking for the public's help to report buckling signs to keep the roads going.

"Call the Transportation Division," McClelland said. "Any type of pavement cracks. If there's something that needs to be repaired, report it."

Transportation officials stress that even just the cracks in the pavement could lead to it buckling, causing the road to become beyond maintenance and cost even more money to fix.

If you'd like to report pavement buckling, you can call the Midland Transportation Division at (432) 685-7287.