KC heat wave causing pavement on roads to fracture and “blow up”

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – This week’s intense heat wave in Kansas City is causing roads and pavement in many areas to fracture and “blow up,” the Missouri Department of Transportation says.  

MoDOT has warned drivers to stay vigilant when driving on roads in the KC area, especially major interstates. 

The blow-ups occur when moisture seeps into the pavement and expands, creating a crack below the pavement that warps into holes in the road when exposed to extreme heat. Kansas City being under an excessive heat warning this past week likely contributed significantly to the blow-ups. 

MoDOT clarified that despite the term, the road is not actually blowing up, and it is considered the summer version of a pothole.  

“It’s difficult to know where or when a pavement blow-up will happen, but our maintenance staff continually monitor road conditions on state routes,” MoDOT KC Assistant District Engineer Matt Killion told KMBC 9. “When you encounter a blow-up in the road, slow down and report the location to MoDOT as soon as possible so our maintenance crews can make repairs.”

A major blow-up occurred this week on the ramp from Pleasant Valley Road to southbound Interstate 35, causing MoDOT to close the ramp and send many Northlanders detouring. 

“This particular pavement blow-up is quite large,” Killion told Fox 4 News. “We are not used to seeing them as big and requiring this much effort to fix.”

“The repair methods vary from pretty easy, to very significant like the one on I-35,” MoDOT Engineer Chris Redline said on KMBC 9. 

Redline went on to say that while most blow-ups are a few inches, the one in question was over a foot tall – the biggest blow-up he has seen in his 30-year career with the department. A spokesperson for MoDOT confirmed to The Heartlander that the damage was fixed and the ramp reopened early Friday afternoon. 

MoDOT is asking drivers who spot pavement blow-ups to call (888) 275-6636 and report them. For more information on the blow-ups and how to report them, visit www.modot.org

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