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Record-breaking heat forces Spokane County road closure, detour in place

Spokane County crews began applying sand and water to the road on on Tuesday night to mitigate and damage and will continue this work through the weekend.
Credit: Spokane County Public Works
E Stoneman Road closure in Spokane County

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Record-breaking heat in the Inland Northwest is forcing the closure of a Spokane County road.

In the coming days, temperatures will continue to soar to record highs in Washington, Idaho and much of the West Coast. Spokane hit 109 degrees on Tuesday, an all-time record high for the city.

East Stoneman Road will be closed through the Fourth of July holiday weekend due to "areas of pavement distress and potholes," according to a press release from Spokane County Public Works. Crews began applying sand and water to the road on on Tuesday night to mitigate and damage and will continue this work through the weekend.

The damage is limited to approximately three locations and about 100 feet total, Spokane County Public Works Maintenance Operations Supervisor Andy Schenk said. The county wants to make sure that it is keeping drivers safe. 

“Not only are we experiencing a triple-digit heat wave, but the longer it lasts the potential for more damage to our road surfaces is certainly a possibility,” Schenk said.  

Drivers can help preserve the pavement by not speeding, Schenk said 

"Asphalt may look solid, but it softens when temperatures rise and can be damaged by speeding or stop-and-start driving," he added.

A detour is in place for E. Stoneman Road between Market Street and N. Argonne/Bruce Road.  As temperatures slowly decrease, the road is expected to reopen on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. 

This isn't the first road in the Inland Northwest that has suffered damage during the heat wave. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) Eastern region tweeted on Tuesday evening about pavement buckling on Highway 195 at milepost 57 near Thornton. This is north of Colfax. Crews were expected to start repairs at 4 a.m. on Wednesday.

RELATED: Heat-related road woes: Pavement buckles on Highway 195 north of Colfax

The pavement on State Route 20 going through Pend Oreille County in northeast Washington also began to peel this week as temperatures remain in the triple digits. In a tweet, WSDOT East said the road is peeling in the westbound lanes between mileposts 385 and 390 west of Tiger, Washington. Crews will sand the road throughout the week and into the weekend to keep it from peeling back further, WSDOT East said. 

In a Facebook post on Monday, Chelan County Public Works said it received reports of oil coming up on county roads. Public works officials wrote in the post that the problem will not go away until the heat wave ends. 

Watch more KREM 2 heat wave coverage on YouTube:

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