Hot weather is being blamed for the buckled pavement that shut down one lane of southbound I-15 Tuesday afternoon, backing up traffic on the highway for several miles.
The problem was worsened because two lanes are blocked off for reconstruction, meaning southbound traffic had to be squeezed into a single lane for two hours.Concrete expands in hot weather, but the sudden warm spell in the state, coming on the heels of cool, wet temperatures, apparently made the situation worse, according to UDOT spokesperson Andrea Packer.
Temperatures Tuesday afternoon soared to 92 degrees, 10 to 12 degrees above normal for early June.
The pavement buckled about 3:30 p.m., throwing up debris across the center southbound lanes just south of the Centerville-Farmington boundary. A passing motorist used a cell phone to report the problem, Packer said.
UDOT crews used a jackhammer to clean out the affected sections of concrete, then patched it like filling a pothole, Packer said, a process that took about two hours.
Two southbound lanes of the interstate in that section are closed for repair with traffic routed onto the one remaining lane and a temporary shoulder lane.
In addition to backing southbound traffic up past Kaysville, northbound rush-hour traffic also piled up as motorists stopped to survey the problem, along with a stalled semitrailer truck that had pulled off the interstate in the same area.
Some southbound traffic was routed off the interstate through downtown Farmington and Centerville, creating long lines of traffic on adjacent side roads.