Hot temps causing roads to buckle; Here’s where the most problematic areas are

SAUK COUNTY, Wis. — In just the past week, there have been seven reported incidents of road buckling happening in Sauk County. Most of them happening on U.S. Highway 12 near Baraboo.

“That’s something we are trying to figure out. In fact we have a small team of pavement engineers and that’s their specialty to look at something like this,” said Wisconsin DOT Roadway Maintenance Supervisor John Marchewka.

That stretch of highway had extensive work done on it within the past five years, according to Marchewka. The DOT is looking into why this particular stretch of road is having such major issues with the roads buckling. According to the DOT, the road buckling in the past week happened at US 12 Mile Markers 214, 215, 216, 221 and on I-90/94 at mile marker 98. Marchewka said every time a report of road buckling comes in, the lanes are closed for a couple hours.

“You’d have maybe law enforcement come by and have a presence on the shoulder with their lights on. Then the highway department crews usually come and make a work zone and temporarily repair the buckle to make sure it’s safe passage.”

Marchewka said these are temporary fixes and it could take up to a year for crews to come do an in-depth fix.

“We will be looking into construction logs, material lab tests and try to find patterns as to why that’s happening,” he said.

Road buckling does not take extreme heat to happen. Marchewka said even 80 degrees can cause a road to buckle

“When I saw the forecast for last week coming up, I thought things would be a lot worse than what they are,” he said.

In the meantime, the road buckles probably aren’t going away. Marchewka said it’s best to be attentive in case the next road buckle happens on your commute.

“The motorist in front of you might be the first person who comes on to that buckle,” he said. “If you give them some space and you’re paying attention, they’re going to appreciate that because they may have to stop quickly, make an evasive maneuver.”

The DOT has also reported several other road buckling instances happening in Dane County near County P and Columbia County along I-19/US 51 and I-90 EB ramp to I-39 NB.