How Does a Local Road Crew Beat the Heat?
WENATCHEE, WA – With temperatures climbing into the triple digits this week for the first time this summer, we wondered how those who have to work out in the heat deal with it. NCWLIFE’s Eric Granstrom hit the road to find out. . .
A Chelan County Public Works crew was out doing a chip seal project on Mission Ridge Road in 100+ degree temperatures. How do they beat the heat? “Lots of water!” was the common refrain from truck drivers, equipment operators and mechanics on the site.
Brad Harn is a Maintenance Supervisor with Chelan County Public Works. “We’ve got our chip seal program going. This will be our first day on Mission Ridge Road. We apply our B-S-T rock with our emulsion oil that we’re putting down for a new chip seal.”
We asked how they handle the heat? “Typically on our road temps when it is this hot, we’ll shut down the chip seal program when 135 to 140-degrees Fahrenheit.” He said, “As far as the crews in general, we really talk to them about safety; watching out for one another; stay hydrated; stay in the shade when possible; where your hats and cool cloths.”
Road Crews Work All Day, Regardless of the Heat
Despite the soaring temperatures, Harn says they don’t change their work schedule to avoid the heat. “Typically we don’t change our hours. We’re going to be here (Mission Ridge Road) for two or three days and then up in the Plain/Lake Wenatchee area where its going to be cooler. Our hours usually run from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.”
Troy Seiber, a mechanic with Chelan County Public Works, says it’s simple. “Stay hydrated and use lots of sunscreen.” Chelan County Public Works machine operator Bruce Duncan says, “try to find shade as much as possible, but that’s not always applicable.”
Curtis FitzSimmons is a flagger on the chip seal project on Mission Ridge Road. He was ducking from the sun behind his “STOP/SLOW” sign and said, “I just try to drink a lot of water and always stay moving.”
Working in Heat Tips: Stay Hydrated and Keep Moving
Machine Operator Travis Wilmms agrees on trying to keep moving, “I try to keep in the shade and if I can keep moving its always a better thing.” Wilmms was operating a Pneumatic Tire Roller, who admitted on hot days is nice to operate because “I can create my own breeze by increasing my speed.”
Skyler Opel says he has to prepare for every hot day by bringing enough water. “I probably go through about 10-to-14 bottles of water a day.” He said when it’s really hot, her prefers his water warmer. “I drink it warm (rather than cold). I definitely think it helps in hot weather to drink water that’s warmer.”
Water Gifts are Appreciated, But Please No Ice Cream
The crew admits its nice when the public stops by their job sites to bring them refreshments, but please, no ice cream. “I appreciate it, but I don’t care for it (ice cream),” said Duncan. “People bring us ice cream and its just the sugar and everything else, I’m just saying no thank you. I’ll stick to water!” Seiber adds, “and, when it’s hot, it’s hard to eat the ice cream before it melts.”
The Chelan County Public Works road crew expects to wrap up the chip seal on Mission Ridge Road by Tuesday and be up around Plain and Lake Wenatchee on Wednesday or Thursday.