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Southbound I-29 re-opened after heat causes roadway to crack open

FARGO - Southbound lanes of Interstate 29 in Fargo were fully reopened around 9:30 p.m. Sunday after heat and humidity caused a portion of the busy roadway to crack open, forcing the closure of the interstate and headaches for drivers.

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A worker uses a saw to remove rebar from the blown-out strip on the I-29 and 17th Avenue South overpass Sunday in Fargo. Nick Wagner / The Forum
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FARGO – Southbound lanes of Interstate 29 in Fargo were fully reopened around 9:30 p.m. Sunday after heat and humidity caused a portion of the busy roadway to crack open, forcing the closure of the interstate and headaches for drivers.

Speeds were still reduced on the 17th Avenue South overpass late Sunday night, where the buckling roadway was reported just after 6:30 p.m.

North Dakota Department of Transportation Assistant District Engineer Kevin Gorder said all four traffic lanes and the shoulder were affected.

"With our hot summer days, our roadway starts to expand a considerable amount, and eventually if there's too much expansion, there's pressure, and the pressure needs to be relieved and the concrete just buckles," Gorder said.

The hole stretched across the lanes, about three inches deep and about a foot wide in spots.

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Workers were able to patch the hole, and a permanent fix would be started soon, Gorder said, which will “take some time," as concrete needs to be cured. He said drivers could see at least two weeks of lane closures at that stretch for the repair.

Heat causing roads to buckle is a fairly common occurrence, Gorder said, with as many as a half-dozen in a normal summer.

Gorder said this is at least the fourth such incident so far this summer.

"They happen occasionally, and we're prepared to fix them," Gorder said.

He said that stretch of pavement is nearly 15 years old.

Temperatures on Sunday in Fargo-Moorhead reached around 90 degrees, with 48 percent humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

Gorder said he did not hear of any traffic collisions related to the buckling.

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Related Topics: TRAVELNORTH DAKOTA
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