How do highway department workers manage in the scorching heat?


OHIO and MARSHALL COUNTIES, W. Va. (WTRF) – In weather like this, a walk from your workplace to your car can feel oppressive.

So it’s hard to imagine how people like Department of Highways employees can manage to work outdoors all day.

DOH District Engineer Tony Clark shared some coping strategies for the extreme heat.

He said the biggest thing is to stay hydrated—with water or Gatorade—not sugary or caffeinated drinks. He also stressed the importance of taking breaks.

Some of the employees are fortunate enough to be working in an air conditioned cab, but when your laboring, working with hand tools, take more breaks. We try not to push the guys as hard as possible in temperatures like this because there’s a breaking point.

Tony Clark, DOH District 6 Engineer

He said the heat is even a factor for pouring concrete.

People think about pouring concrete in the cold and making sure it doesn’t freeze, but it’s equally an issue when it’s really hot. The concrete can actually set up quicker and can crack.

Tony Clark, DOH District 6 Engineer

So, by mid afternoon in this kind of weather, it’s actually too hot to pour concrete.

They’ll stagger their shifts, start earlier in the morning, sometimes as early as three o’clock in the morning. They’ll get out there, get the concrete poured, get it covered up, get water on it and get it cooled before the heat of the day.

Tony Clark, DOH District 6 Engineer

That helps the workers too.

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