Council Bluffs crews working on roads in extreme heat taking extra care

Even though workers are braving the temperatures, road construction will face delays due to the intense heat.
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 3:31 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - Working outside in the heat is not for everyone. However, some people love it.

Public Works crews with the City of Council Bluffs say they prefer the heat over the cold. Lead Equipment Operator Chris Mower is one of them.

“I love my job,” he said. “I love doing construction and operating equipment, making our roads look good.”

Mower has worked for the City of Council Bluffs for 13 years and says he’s used to the heat. His latest project included resurfacing S. 16th St. with burning hot asphalt.

Supervisor Curt Whittington says it is just another day on the job.

“These guys will probably, probably only be about 10-hour day for them today,” he said. “We’ll go until we’re finished here.”

The hard work does not go unnoticed by kind neighbors, who often leave out coolers filled with water for the crews.

People might think that delays in projects due to heat would be caused by workers getting overheated.

However, Whittington says the real problem is the asphalt. He says freshly poured asphalt is about 300° Fahrenheit. The asphalt usually cools off within a few hours, but not in extreme heat.

Whittington said, “Obviously it being a black material why, it is absorbing heat so it’s only going to drop about so much,” he said. “On days like this, it will take all night before it’s cool enough for us to open it up to traffic without damage to it.”

Meantime, Mower will be back hitting the pavement and not sweating it.

“I think we’ve got a good operation with the City of Council Bluffs here and I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.