Sidewalk Buckles in Kentucky Heat

On a hot summer day you can escape the heat by going inside, but what about a sidewalk? It can’t escape the heat and the result, a buckle, which recently happened to a sidewalk along Highway 45 in Paducah.

“Sidewalks themselves, being concrete, if they are not shaded, if they are in direct sunlight without any expansion joints, they are moving ever so slightly and then when you have a buckling situation it shows you how much they can move,” says Rick Murphy, an engineer with the city of Paducah.

Murphy says those lines you see every so often on the sidewalk are there for a reason.

“The one you see the most of, every five or six feet, those are controlled joints, that’s kind of like a wafer that’s got a place to break, crack, or something, that’s where we want it to break, if it breaks,” said Murphy.

Near the end of the sidewalk, there should be an expansion joint, there wasn’t one at the end of the sidewalk along Highway 45, meaning two pieces of concrete were connected together, when that happens and it heats up outside, the concrete can’t expand and it buckles.

“It’s directly to heat and the lack of expansion joints,” says Murphy.

Murphy says it’s an easy fix.

“We have a special saw, that we can saw a one inch thick line through it, which creates a space and then we’ll allow that to drift right back down flat in its position and then we’ll put the expansion joint material in there and seal it up and we’re done.”

But the heat of summer is not, which means you may see more of these buckles before summer is over.

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