Local roads can't take the heat

August 7, 2009 4:02:24 PM PDT
A Houston roadway looks like it was hit by an earthquake. Residents in a west Houston neighborhood drive over it every day. It's a street that's buckled because it simply couldn't take this brutal heat. It's not the kind of commute motorists like, complete with a last second slowdown to avoid an erupting piece of pavement. City work crews on Friday marked and blocked off the hazard, but the heaving concrete stretches across both lanes and motorists are slowing down to cross.

"Its kind of a little dangerous because the sign they put right there is right in front of it," said driver Sam Chau. "They don't have a sign farther down to let people know to avoid it.'

This stretch of road is in the 15,000 block of Park Row eastbound at Broadfield in west Houston. Friday afternoon, the city of Houston confirmed the buckle is heat-related and is scheduled for repair. The city also says this buckle is one of only two incidents reported this year, caused by concrete expansion from extreme heat.

But it's a far different situation with the state. Reporting road buckles or blowouts, as they're called by the Texas Department of Transportation, have increased. Just since July, there have been five reported and repaired road blowouts in our area, one along State Highway 146 and the rest along the Loop.

For TxDOT, blowout repairs are considered a priority.

"It's almost considered an emergency because it can be a hazard to the public," said Karen Othon with TxDOT. "So we want to get out there and repair it as fast as we can to get traffic flowing over pavement again."

If you have a road blow out to report, just give TxDOT a call at 713-802-5000. If the blowout is in Houston, you can also call the city's helpline number 311.

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