NORTHEAST WISCONSIN - The sweltering heat is keeping highway crews busy across the state.
Roads have been buckling, including some problems in our area Thursday afternoon.
The afternoon sun was too much for a portion of Highway 29 in Shawano County, as the road buckled across both lanes of traffic.
A portion of Highway 441 in Appleton couldn't take the heat either, creating an eight-inch gap in the pavement.
Officials say it's the first incident in the Appleton area so far this summer, but it's probably not the last.
"People have to pay attention to what's in front of them, whether you're on a highway, or on our rural roadways or one of our city streets," explained Capt. Rudy Nyman of the Appleton Police Department.
The blinking arrows, orange cones and slowed traffic have become common the last two days, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
As of late Thursday, the WisDOT received five reports of buckled roads statewide.
The day before, approximately 17 pavement buckles were reported.
"The heat has been causing us some problems, there's no doubt about it," said WisDOT Highway Division Deputy Administrator Rory Rhinesmith during a phone interview.
- Click here to take a look at record high temperatures reached in Northeast Wisconsin Thursday
- Click here to see photos of the heat wave's toll
WisDOT officials say the heat causes the pavement to expand, which leads to buckles.
"In our systems when we monitor the pavement temperature, we've seen temperatures exceeding 135 degrees on the pavement service," Rhinesmith explained.
On Sunday, heat-damaged pavement sent an SUV flying on Highway 29 in western Wisconsin, near Chippewa Falls.
Officials say a failure of this nature is rare, but even small-scale buckles can do damage to your car if you're not careful.
"If you can get over to the other lane safely, please move over, especially if there are construction vehicles. Slow down, drive safely, and be observant," Nyman said.
The WisDOT says the risk of pavement buckling will remain high, until we get some relief from the sweltering heat.
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