Heat blamed for McLoughlin 'buckle', traffic jam
Early summer heat was blamed for causing the southbound lanes of S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard to buckle upward like a mini ski ramp, just north of the Bybee Bridge on Monday, June 26.
The high temperature on June 24 in Westmoreland was 98 degrees (a record) – and June 25, Sunday, was even hotter at 101 degrees, which tied the record for the date. Monday, with overcast, drizzle, and thunder, reached only 78 degrees – but apparently the pavement was already failing from the previous two days of heat.
Throughout Monday afternoon, and during the evening drive time, traffic backed up as it was diverted into the turn-out alongside Westmoreland Union Manor, and snaked back onto the highway through the traffic light at the west end of the Bybee Bridge.
"What we know was that this was caused by the very warm temperatures," said Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Region 1 spokesman Don Hamilton.
"The heat caused a concrete panel, under the top coating of asphalt, to expand," Hamilton told THE BEE. "It expanded enough to push up at one end."
ODOT contractors worked that afternoon, and throughout the night, to excavate the section down to the base, and refill it and repave it by morning. The same stretch of road will be completely rebuilt and repaved again, as part of this summer's ODOT McLoughlin reconstruction project currently underway.