KANSAS CITY, Mo — The latest stretch of toasty temperatures in Kansas City have provided another test for road crews working to keep streets safe and smooth.
On Thursday, crews with the city of Kansas City, Missouri were hard at work fixing potholes near 24th Street and Prospect Avenue. It was 9 a.m. but outside temperatures kept reaching new highs, making it unbearable to be out in the direct sun for more than 10 minutes at a time.
“We are trying to plan smarter and get them out of the sun as much as possible,” KCMO Public Works spokesperson Sherae Honeycutt said. “It is overwhelmingly hot, oppressively hot, and that’s something that we have to work around unfortunately.”
Honeycutt says crews start out their day no later than 7 a.m. and start tackling major roadways first before the scorching sun comes out. Each crew has a manager on site to make sure employees are taking necessary water breaks and are working under safe conditions.
“We try to do our main roads at the beginning of the day when it’s cooler because you have the direct sunlight and as the day goes on, we try to get them on those side roads, on the neighborhood streets where there’s more shade due to trees,” Honeycutt said.
Orlando Strother has worked with the city for more than six years, and he says his family does raise concerns about his direct contact with the heat while on the clock, but knows his work is for the well-being of his community.
“It’s a big matter, ” Strother said. “I know people complain on a day-to-day basis on certain issues so I try to make it good for other people to ride on.”
While on neighborhood streets, Honeycutt states crews primarily focus on fixing potholes. She says the mix they use to fill them up works better in the sun and heat because it melts in the pavement.
“If it gets too hot, they move into shaded areas and they can take breaks,” Honeycutt said. “We have regional centers where they can go during their lunch break, they can cool off they can get air conditioning, they get air conditioning in their car, they’re asked to take periodic breaks.”
Honeycutt says Kansas City so far hasn’t had any delays on projects because of the heat.