Hot Weather Melts Roads

Thu 22nd Jul 2021

Brits don’t cope well with extreme temperatures and neither do our roads if reports are to be believed with many major highways melting under the heat of the sun.

While the winter months seemingly destroy the roads, with ice and snow bringing potholes, at the other end of the scale, the current heatwave is making the tarmac and asphalt go soft.

A report in this weekend’s Sunday Times quotes a series of local councillors who are all battling to beat the heat on the streets.
“I have instructed officers to work with our contractors to resolve the failed surfacing with a quality repair which will last,” councillor Veron Smith told the Sunday Times as parts of the A38 began melting forcing Gloucestershire County Council into action.

“This will be at no additional cost to the taxpayer and will deliver a smooth and high quality surface for all road users.”

Roads can often reach 50C during the height of a heatwave, with temperatures usually building through the day. Somerset Council had similar problems, taking to Twitter to explain that their roads were melting but that in a country that has both hot and cold temperatures it was a difficult balancing act.

“The blistering heat has caused some roads to melt (yes, melt). We are doing all we can to protect the roads. We will continue to monitor the situation over the next few days,” the statement said.

“The road network has 5% of ‘polymer modified binders in hot rolled asphalt’ roads. These can absorb up to 80C but they are more expensive. It is particularly problematic in countries that experience the two extremes of weather.

“Asphalt is like chocolate — it melts and softens when it’s hot and goes hard and brittle when it’s cold. As a result, it doesn’t maintain the same strength all year round.”