Updated Fri, Jul 19, 2013 9:44 am
Soaring temperatures resulted in a relatively rare occurrence in Washington County — a portion of Route 7 burst upward Wednesday evening, causing the closure of the highway and a traffic backup.
A five-foot crack appeared in the two southbound lanes at milepost 11 at Belpre, near County Road 51 (Joe Skinner Road), shortly before 7 p.m. Crews from the Ohio Department of Transportation were able to made temporary repairs and reopen the road by 9:15 p.m.
Despite early reports of accidents in the vicinity of the rupture, ODOT and the State Highway Patrol said Wednesday there were no accidents reported to the their agencies.
ODOT spokesman David Rose explained that there are three layers to the roadway, including the subgrade or compacted dirt, the concrete base and the asphalt overlay. Heat caused the concrete base to expand, rupturing the asphalt.
Rose said ODOT crews were able to clean out the concrete and place a temporary mix on the road to hold until crews can work the next week or so on a permanent solution, using a higher-grade concrete and asphalt for a base that is designed to withstand the heat a little better.
Rose said that these types of incidents involving heat and a road rupture are uncommon, but that they do occur from time to time. He said during heat advisories, road crews are on standby in case of a like event.