UDOT Crews Continue Construction Projects Despite Record Cold

Oct 30, 2019, 8:45 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 12:00 pm

SUMMIT PARK, Utah — Utah Department of Transportation crews continued to work through subfreezing temperatures across the state to keep construction projects on schedule.

The crews working outside certainly had to plan ahead. At Jeremy Ranch, outside of Park City, UDOT crews are putting in a roundabout on both sides of I-80 to ease congestion and improve safety.

The temperature there today never got above 12 degrees. When workers got started this morning, it was one of the coldest spots in the state.

“After a few years of doing this in the cold and stuff, you learn really quick,” said Jason Bost, a road construction worker who had a rude awakening this morning.

“It’s cold! How am I going to stay warm in Park City?“ he asked with a laugh.

Bost warmed his socks and steel-toed boots over a space heater, then put on a couple of layers of shirts, hoodies, some thermals and coveralls. With 27 years of experience, he knows how to dress for a bitterly cold day.

“When I left home, it was 14 or 12 degrees in Springville,” he said. “When I got up here it was negative four.”

That was around 6:30 a.m.Wednesday and the temperature never got out of the teens.

“You really can’t pour concrete,” he said.

That’s what they would have done today if it hadn’t been so cold.

“Everything gets complicated,“ said John Montoya, UDOT Project Manager.

They like temperatures 50 degrees or warmer to pour asphalt, 40 degrees or warmer to pour concrete.

“After that, we don’t like to do those kinds of activities because it compromises the quality,” Montoya said.

So, they shifted to other jobs, like digging a trench for a sewer line and grading for a trail and landscaping.

“People are dedicated to showing up when it’s 2 degrees, 7 degrees, 5 degrees and they come to work and they help us get these projects done and delivered,” he said. “They are the real heroes.”

UDOT has commitments to the companies building the roads and all of us — the people who drive these roads.

“We have schedules we have to keep,” said UDOT spokesman John Gleason. “We have promises that have been made. We have projects that have to be delivered on time.”

He applauded the workers working long days today.

“When you’re standing out here for more than a few minutes, you recognize just how biting and cold these temperatures can be,” he said. “You really have to be tough, and have a lot of heart to work out of these conditions because they can be really unforgiving.”

Bost said they take it in stride.

“You’re fighting the wind, blowing snow, and cold temps,” he said. “I mean, four below zero is really nothing new.”

His coldest workday ever? In Lehi, about a dozen years ago.

“It was 12 below, and the wind chill was about 15…wind chill about 15 below zero.”

Crews will work on the roundabouts throughout the winter, expecting to wrap up the $13 million project in the spring.

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UDOT Crews Continue Construction Projects Despite Record Cold