OLATHE, Kan. - As the heat drags on during the summer of 2012, keep your eyes to the ground. Hot temperatures are waging war on area sidewalks.
Olathe has already spent an extra $20,000 in repairs.
Concrete is buckling faster than ever. Mary Jaeger, an engineer for the city of Olathe, told 41 Action News this is a problem that typically doesn’t present itself until the start of August.
“Concrete falls victim to heat because of the expansion process. Unlike asphalt, which is a more flexible pavement, concrete can't handle that stress,” Jaeger explained.
She expects crews to repair 25 percent more sidewalks this year than last because of the extreme heat.
“We were in these temperatures in June. Typically, we don't see this kind of heaving until August," she added.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is battling concrete woes along with hot asphalt.
“The asphalt is a flexible pavement and it starts, now and then, it'll start coming apart and creating the pot hole,” engineer Jon Voss explained.
Voss said the two month long drought has caused soil to pull away from the roadways, much like the foundation of a home.
“At this point, it seems like we are about as dry as we can be," he said.
He estimated there had been about 50 pot holes reports in Missouri so far this summer. The pot hole issue is more typical during cold weather when asphalt becomes brittle.
Voss said he needs drivers’ help.
“You're driving along and you feel your car bump a little bit and that can be just a contraction of the pavement underneath,” he said. So, when you feel a bump, report it quickly. 1-888-ASK-MODOT is the number to call.
In come cases, crews will respond. In others, cooler temperatures and rain will do the work for them.
In the meantime, pouring concrete is causing long-nights for some crews and contractors. Concrete won't set in temperatures higher than 85 degrees, so projects like the construction on the Broadway Bridge are starting at two o'clock in the morning.
The good news? Little rain or storms has allowed MoDOT to work ahead. Many of its projects are ahead of schedule.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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