A section of Johnston Street, a major thoroughfare in Lafayette, has been closed to southbound traffic between Arnould Boulevard and Leonie Street since 8 p.m. on June 17 due to a concrete pavement blowup. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has been working tirelessly to rectify the situation, but the extreme heat has posed significant challenges.

A concrete pavement blowup occurs when the concrete roadway surface undergoes severe distress due to high temperatures. In this case, the scorching heatwave that has plagued south Louisiana in recent days caused the roadway to buckle and become unsafe for travel.

The closure was implemented to ensure the safety of motorists and allow the DOTD crews to assess and repair the affected area.

Since the closure, DOTD teams have been working around the clock to resolve the issue and reopen Johnston Street to traffic. However, their efforts have been impeded by the need for the asphalt to cool down before repairs can be undertaken effectively. The extreme heat that caused the pavement blowup initially now complicates the process of restoring the roadway.

Concrete pavement blowups occur due to a phenomenon known as thermal expansion. As temperatures rise, concrete expands, and if the expansion is restrained, such as by steel reinforcement, it can lead to the development of internal stress within the pavement. When this stress exceeds the strength of the concrete, the pavement may crack or buckle, resulting in a blowup.

In response to the blowup, the DOTD has deployed its resources to the affected section of Johnston Street. Crews have carefully assessed the extent of the damage and developed a plan to repair the pavement and ensure its long-term stability. While their progress is commendable, the repair process is intricate and time-consuming, as it involves removing the damaged concrete, addressing any underlying issues, and pouring new materials.

DOTD officials have urged the public to exercise patience during this closure and to seek alternative routes. They understand the inconvenience caused by the road closure, particularly during peak travel hours, but emphasize that safety remains their top priority.

Motorists are advised to use detour routes and follow the guidance of traffic signs and personnel in the area. Louisiana DOTD will provide regular updates on the progress of repairs and reopening of Johnston Street and when they do, we will pass that information along.

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