Section of Del. 1 sags in the heat

MILFORD — The heat wave brought a rare side effect Thursday, buckling a section of roadway near Milford and forcing an overnight closure so crews could fix the area on southbound Del. 1.

While traffic was initially delayed early Thursday night, it picked up speed as traffic volume dropped.
“There were no incidents or damaged vehicles that we are aware of,” spokesman C.R. McLeod said Friday.

The highway’s black surface absorbed heat, DelDOT said, causing concrete to move upward as the stress increased. A similar emergency took place on U.S. 113 several years ago.
“While this doesn’t happen often in Delaware it can happen during extreme temperatures, both hot and cold,” Mr. McLeod said.

A 12 1/2 hour repair job allowed Del. 1 southbound to be fully re-opened by about 6:30 a.m. Friday.
Motorists notified the Delaware Department of Transportation about a significant bump in the highway Thursday afternoon and a traffic safety inspector determined that heat and humidity caused concrete under asphalt to heave upward. Repairs began at 6 p.m., Mr. McLeod said.

“The concern was with even hotter temperatures expected through the weekend, the issue could worsen and become more of a safety hazard, and if the concrete failed, would require a complete closure of the road in order to repair it which we wanted to avoid, especially ahead of a summer weekend,” he said.

A 10-foot section was removed by a temporary patch and will receive a future permanent fix, DelDOT said.
A roughly 20-member crew used an excavator, backhoe with a jackhammer, roller and water truck to make repairs. DelDOT joined contractor Diamond Materials in the efforts.

The potential for temperatures rising to 100 degrees or more this weekend could lead to similar issues. DelDOT asked motorists with concerns to call the 24/7 Transportation Management Center at #77 so inspection can be made.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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