Travelers coming into Stillwater from the east will find the outside lane of the Cimarron Turnpike closed after part of the pavement buckled. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety shut down both westbound lanes near mile marker 23 A on the 8-mile Stillwater Spur at 2: 14 p.m. Thursday.
The inside lane reopened about two hours later but the outside lane will remain closed until the roadway can be repaired, according to a DPS release.
It isn’t uncommon for roadways, especially those made of concrete, to buckle during hot weather. The Cimarron Turnpike roadway has done the same thing at various points in recent years.
In 2016 both eastbound lanes near mile marker 27-A in Payne County buckled and had to be closed.
In 2011, a motorcyclist from Pawnee was seriously injured when the pavement in the westbound lanes near mile marker 39 formed a ramp two feet high. The man’s motorcycle flipped over and went airborne for 150 feet before landing on the pavement and sliding more than 200 feet.
The rider was transported to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa by air ambulance with serious injuries but survived.
At the time, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority officials told NewsOn6, that the roadway on the Cimarron is cut into 15-foot sections that slowly expand when the concrete gets hot and stays hot, as during a heat wave. The sections eventually collide with each other, causing the road surface to heave and buckle.
Cracks or joints where moisture can infiltrate and cause swelling only make the problem worse and buckling occurs more often in concrete surfaces, which are less flexible than asphalt.
A heat wave across the central portion of the U.S. caused roads in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, Missouri and Wisconsin to either buckle or shatter during the summer of 2016.
At the time the Wisconsin Department of Transportation issued a warning for motorist to slow down, buckle up and eliminate distractions while driving to ensure they spot hazards, slowing traffic or roadside workers.