Dane County to monitor Beltline after cold weather causes pavement pop outs

Drivers warned that pop outs can damage cars
Dane County to monitor Beltline after cold weather causes pavement pop outs

With the cold weather causing problems on the Beltline, Dane County crews will be monitoring the area more closely during this winter.John Steiner, the operations chief for the southwest region of the Department of Transportation, said patches in the pavement on the Beltline popped out Wednesday morning.

“It’s not due to the material or the construction or the craftsmanship or anything,” he said. “It’s just the right conditions for something like this.”

Steiner said the pop outs happen when water gets into the cracks around the patches in the pavement and starts to freeze and thaw. That causes the patch to move around and loosen. As cars drive over the patch, it can come loose and pop out of the pavement.

“The Beltline being the main artery through Madison and the highest used — 120,000 cars a day — it just makes it that much more of a challenge for us to monitor and maintain as we go through it day to day,” Steiner said.

Steiner said the problems are mainly happening on the Beltline, where about 8,000 patches were put in for a road improvement project a few years ago.

“They work very well except for these situations when we get freeze, thaw and some of them start popping out,” he said. “It’s a very small percentage, like 1 percent of these have popped out, but it only takes one of them out of that 8,000 to create a big problem.”

Steiner said the pop outs can damage cars if drivers go over the pieces.

“Some of the cars have already received flat tires from these,” he said. “When they pop out, they’re very jagged. So they’re very sharp or they’re large enough that if a tire hits it, it may break the seal along the seam of the tire along the side and get an instant flat as they go through them.”

Any driver who notices a patch starting to raise out of the pavement or sees a piece in the roadway should call Dane County’s non-emergency number at 608-255-2345.