Sound Off

What is the Kansas Department of Transportation going to do about all the washboards on Pleasant Grove Hill between Lawrence and Ottawa?

Washboarding is a condition that occurs on roadways when the pavement buckles, creating an uneven, bumpy surface. KDOT spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls provided the following explanation regarding the Pleasant Grove Hill area on U.S. Highway 59:

“There are waves of sorts that have developed in the new four-lane asphalt portion of the new U.S. 59 through the ‘big cut’ when the new highway alignment was built. The cause of these undulations or ‘waves’ is caused in part by the underlying shale (rock layer) that is still expanding/rebounding somewhat. KDOT crews tried to mitigate this issue during construction by leaving the cut unsurfaced for a long time to allow it to rebound (mostly) before we paved over it (with asphalt). There is still some movement in the underlying shale geology that will continue to occur over time, which is why the roadway was paved with asphalt through that particular section. The waves that have shown up are still pretty mild but at some point in the future KDOT will need to profile mill this segment and overlay it again to smooth out the bumps that have developed.”


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