Record-breaking temperatures cause road to buckle in Centerville; I-15 backed up for hours

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CENTERVILLE — Drivers stuck in traffic for hours have the heat to blame after part of I-15 buckled Thursday afternoon.

Utah Department of Transportation crews got to work on the damaged roadway, closing down all but one northbound lane just after 2 p.m. The backup continued well into the evening commute.

UDOT spokesman Mitch Shaw said the crumbled chunks of concrete could make for a dangerous commute for drivers going freeway speeds.

"It is a bump in the road and obviously when you're driving on the freeway you expect it to be a smooth surface," Shaw said. "We don't want people driving on the road when there is a pavement buckle like this."

Crews worked in the sweltering heat to remove and replace the damaged roadway. It is a job they prepare for every summer.

"The concrete will expand, but it has nowhere to go but up," Shaw said. "The only problem is although we do know it's possible and we expected to happen, we can't really predict where it's going to happen or when it's going to happen."

Traffic was backed up for miles from Woods Cross all the way past Parrish Lane. Drivers trying to avoid the mess even got backed up for miles into nearby neighborhoods.

"It happened at a really bad time during the evening commute, but we can't just let it sit there, we have to fix it," Shaw said.

The concrete will expand, but it has nowhere to go but up.

–Mitch Shaw, UDOT

With more heat expected this weekend, Shaw said UDOT will be keeping an eye out for road buckling. The agency is asking drivers to do the same.

"If you see it happening, call 911. We need to know about it, and we need to know about it immediately," Shaw said.

Shaw said the final repairs made Thursday night should not have any residual effects for future commutes.


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Ashley Moser
Ashley Moser co-anchors KSL 5 Live at 5 with Mike Headrick and reports for the KSL 5 News at 10. She was born and raised on the island of O’ahu and worked as a reporter in Hawaii and a handful of cities across the U.S.


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