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Mother Nature taking a toll on Utah roads

Local (Utah/State News)

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UTAH (ABC4 News) – It’s one of the major corridors traveled throughout our state.

“In parts of Utah on I-15 in the Salt Lake Valley here, we see 250,000 vehicles every day,” said John Gleason, Public Information Officer for Utah Department of Transportation.

Interstate 15 runs from Northern to Southern Utah.

In recent months, the weather has had some serious impacts on the roadway.

In late July, extreme heat led to road buckling in Davis County.

“If the expansion joints are filled with grit, stones and rocks those types of things they don’t give the panels the room to expand anymore, so they basically move in on each other,” said Gleason.

The buckling caused the emergency closure of three left lanes at milepost 319 near Parrish Lane.

“Buckling is a little bit more challenging to decipher where that is going to happen,” said Gleason. “We know long stretches of older roadways are more susceptible.”

This particular stretch of the interstate is more than 50 to 60 years old.

It was back in March when three northbound lanes at the 800 South overpass were closed in Salt Lake City.

It was for a large hole in the roadway.

The cause was heavy rain and impacts from our extreme winter which led to erosion.

“What happens in the summer the panels expand,” said Gleason. “In the winter, they contract. It’s the expansion and contraction that we see with the extreme temperatures.”

To counter these problems, UDOT inspects every bridge in the state at least once every two years.

“We have an extensive catalog of exactly where our pavements are,” said Gleason. “Where every bridge system is and we know exactly what we need to address.”

If you have to report a traffic problem, UDOT recommends using their Click ‘n Fix app. Officials generally respond in 24 hours.

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