More Buckling Pavement Possible

No indication LSD buckling was due to workmanship, CDOT says

By Natalie Martinez
|  Tuesday, Jul 6, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 PM CDT
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That buckling pavement on Lake Shore Drive that closed the southbound lanes to traffic on Monday night? It could happen again elsewhere, the Chicago Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

High temperatures and blazing sun are likely to blame for the failure of the roadway near Roosevelt Road. 

"That section of Lake Shore Drive is comprised of large concrete slabs. They're built with what are known as expansion joints, which, as the name implies, are spaces to allow a little bit of lateral movement with those slabs. Now it's possible that one of those joints, after 15 years of heavy traffic, of winter and summer temperature extremes, it's possible that that failed," said CDOT spokesman Brian Steele.

Thermal expansion is the tendency of an object to change in volume when heated.  With 3,800 miles of roadway and several high-temperature months ahead, it's possible to see more buckling like was seen Monday.

CDOT asks residents to call 311 to report spots where the pavement is unsafe.

"This is a roadway that sees 150,000-plus cars on a daily basis, has been through 15 Chicago winters and summers [and] like any roadway surface, it will see some deterioration," said Steele. "There's nothing to indicate this has anything to do with the workmanship on this roadway."

The repairs done to LSD overnight should last several weeks or months before a permanent fix is required.

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