LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A summer's worth of high temperatures is taking its toll on roads all across Lawton.
Each year, high temperatures cause roads around town to buckle, as the heat causes the concrete to expand. Crews are working this week on Lee Boulevard in a three-block stretch between Southwest 4th and 6th Streets. Crews have to go in, dig all of the cracked concrete out and pour new concrete down in all of these roads before topping them off with asphalt to make them smooth to drive on.
Right now the construction has the road down to one lane going each way which has slowed things down substantially. City of Lawton Street and Traffic Control Superintendent Cliff Haggenmiller said some people around town probably don't think twice about the road construction and how meaningful it can be to those in the community.
"It's very important, this can be a safety hazard if it's not taken care of immediately," Haggenmiller said. "They can grow quite large around town if we don't take care of them right away and if you think of all the concrete streets we have around town you can imagine how big of a problem that could be."
In one area on Lee Boulevard, the street has buckled but has not yet been fixed. Crews are working on the road about 20 feet away from there, where they have already begun cutting the rebar and digging out all of the concrete. Next, they will pour new concrete and have a fresh road, before finally putting about 2 inches of asphalt on top to ensure a smooth ride. Haggenmiller said naturally, that is all a lot of work.
"It's quite hard on the employees as you can imagine, we try to keep them hydrated and take breaks whenever they need but it's a dangerous job," Haggenmiller said. "But they've been doing it for quite a while and we try to make sure they have all the safety items they need to stay cool."
Haggenmiller said on top of the actual work they are doing, the crews have to deal with an added danger brought on by the public.
"One of the hardest things about these jobs is the traffic control," Haggenmiller said. "We have some people who will speed through here and as you can see it's very dangerous, our equipment and our employees are working rather closely to active traffic lanes."
Haggenmiller said that could very easily lead to serious injuries for both the workers and the drivers.
"Fortunately, we haven't experienced that yet," Haggenmiller said. "But again, we just need to remind the public just to make sure when you're going through a work zone, take it easy and watch out."
Once the crews finish on Lee Boulevard, they will move on to areas in the 34-hundred block of Cache road and around 40th and Gore to fix the buckled roads there.