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Spokane roads damaged by extreme heat, here's what to expect while traveling

In winter, Spokane is plagued with potholes. Now in summer, the heat is causing pavement problems.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington Department of Transportation said it discovered more heat-related issues with pavement in the Spokane area.

In a tweet Thursday afternoon, the department said crews have identified areas where the pavement has lifted. The locations include westbound I-90 off-ramp to Lincoln Street, eastbound Highway 2 off-ramp to eastbound I-90 and I-90 eastbound Liberty Lake off-ramp.

A growing number of roadway segments across the Inland Northwest are being blocked off or reduced down to one-way traffic. If traffic continues to run across those sections of hot road it will deform the roads even more.

Robert Blegen with WSDOT East said the successive days of high heat in our region means it will take longer for fresh asphalt to cool down.

"That's frustrating for us and the traveling public because we can't relieve traffic as fast as we normally can on the project," Blegen said.

This has been an ongoing problem since the start of the Inland Northwest’s heat wave in early July.

In Whitman County just south of Rosalia, the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) Eastern region tweeted about how they are having to repair multiple locations of pavement on US 195 between milepost 58 and 60. WSDOT said that crews are currently working on repairs and flagging traffic through the work zone.

Just north of Colfax, the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) Eastern region tweeted Tuesday evening about pavement buckling on Highway 195 at milepost 57 near Thornton. The road is still open. Crews are expected to start repairs early Wednesday morning at 4 a.m.

The pavement on State Route 20 going through Pend Oreille County in northeast Washington has begun to peel 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.

Here is a list of some of the areas that we have seen issues with buckling pavement, according to WSDOT.

  • US 195 – MP 58-60 north of Colfax
  • SR 20 – Sherman Pass
  • SR 20 – MP 385-390 – just east of Tiger and west of Colville
  • US 395 – Southbound at the bridge over the little Spokane River
  • Eastbound I-90 Liberty Lake of-ramp
  • Westbound I-90 off-ramp at Lincoln Street
  • Eastbound US 2 off-ramp to eastbound I-90
  • US 395 northbound from the Division Street on-ramp on the bridge over the Little Spokane River

The scorching hot summer Spokane has experienced so far is on pace to be the hottest summer on record. We're already ahead of 2015's record-setting season, albeit by a fraction of a degree.

NWS Spokane tweeted on July 14, just before the half-way point in the summer, that Spokane's average temperature has been 73.5 degrees. This is a tenth of a degree higher than 2015's average temperature between the same 43 days so far in meteorological summer, which began June 1.


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