BEND, OR -- Construction crews are still on the job during this heatwave, but rules passed by Oregon OSHA last year are aimed at keeping workers safe. Kacey Davey, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, says her agency makes sure road crews don’t overheat while trying to keep projects moving forward. "We’re always providing shade, always providing cool water. But one of the biggest things we’re doing is trying to do all of the outside maintenance-heavy work during the morning," she tells KBND News, "And then, in the afternoon, when the sun is up high in the sky, then we’re doing a lot more of the greasing the trucks and the work we can do in the shops to keep our folks safe. So, make sure when you’re driving through all of our construction zones, to give them extra space and extra smiles as you go through there, because they’re working hard."
Similar precautions are taken during poor air quality, "If it’s really bad, smokey outside, we’re trying to keep our folks in our trucks, doing more of the transporting, hauling materials as much as we can indoors, where they’re protected."
Oregon OSHA also mandates employers create break schedules for crews working outside, when they're exposed to outdoor temps above 90. "We all follow OSHA’s rules and regulations," says Davey, "So, whether it’s around heat of the day and what you need to do to provide for your workers, or what you have to do when it’s wildfire smoke outside, everybody’s following those same set of rules."
Work on Bend’s North Corridor Project is moving forward, despite the heat. Davey says, "We’re just getting started on the Highway 97 part of that project. For that, still most of the work is off on the shoulder, where they’re starting to build the footings for the new parkway that you’ll see extend along the railroad track." The biggest traffic impacts for that multi-year projects remain on the Highway 20 side.