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Concrete patches in the slow lane

Yo Matt:

I have a question about some weird concrete patches in some of the slow lanes on our interstates. They’re rectangular cutouts, in two rows of four, very neatly patched. They seem to run right underneath cars’ tires. I have seen them in several places, like along westbound I-8 in La Mesa and a longer stretch on northbound I-5 as you enter San Clemente. But, again, there are these patches in several other sections as well. Are these patches covering up some sort of magnets to power experimental electrical cars along our freeways or was Jimmie Hoffa buried in thousands of tiny rectangles and covered in concrete along the interstates?

— Gotta Wonder, Clairemont

Hoffa? Preposterous! Everyone knows those patches are where CALTRANS buries pirate gold and blood diamonds to stockpile for the post-apocalyptic world in which municipal highway authorities rule the nation with an iron fist, dispensing justice as they see fit and fighting brutal turf wars over the right to command the interstates....

Oh, no, wait, those are patches over the spots where steel dowels were inserted to strengthen the concrete slabs that make up the roadway. It doesn’t show to the naked eye, but the huge slabs of concrete ripple and roll like waves as vehicles come along. The steel dowels are an inexpensive way to strengthen and prolong the life of the freeway by helping to transfer loads smoothly from one slab to another. As older roads are retrofitted, the bars are installed underneath the rightmost lanes because that’s where heavy trucks drive, hence the patches. Newer sections of freeway are being built with the dowels in place from the beginning.

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Yo Matt:

I have a question about some weird concrete patches in some of the slow lanes on our interstates. They’re rectangular cutouts, in two rows of four, very neatly patched. They seem to run right underneath cars’ tires. I have seen them in several places, like along westbound I-8 in La Mesa and a longer stretch on northbound I-5 as you enter San Clemente. But, again, there are these patches in several other sections as well. Are these patches covering up some sort of magnets to power experimental electrical cars along our freeways or was Jimmie Hoffa buried in thousands of tiny rectangles and covered in concrete along the interstates?

— Gotta Wonder, Clairemont

Hoffa? Preposterous! Everyone knows those patches are where CALTRANS buries pirate gold and blood diamonds to stockpile for the post-apocalyptic world in which municipal highway authorities rule the nation with an iron fist, dispensing justice as they see fit and fighting brutal turf wars over the right to command the interstates....

Oh, no, wait, those are patches over the spots where steel dowels were inserted to strengthen the concrete slabs that make up the roadway. It doesn’t show to the naked eye, but the huge slabs of concrete ripple and roll like waves as vehicles come along. The steel dowels are an inexpensive way to strengthen and prolong the life of the freeway by helping to transfer loads smoothly from one slab to another. As older roads are retrofitted, the bars are installed underneath the rightmost lanes because that’s where heavy trucks drive, hence the patches. Newer sections of freeway are being built with the dowels in place from the beginning.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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