One of the hottest jobs in Texas: TxDOT road crew
By Heather Deaton
ATLANTA - It’s widely known at TxDOT that being on a seal coat crew is not for the faint of heart. In fact, veterans who have worked on the roads for decades acknowledge that it’s among the hottest jobs in the Lone Star State.
“It’s not a very desirable job; most people would say that,” said TxDOT Statewide Seal Coat Coordinator Dennis Berryhill. “It’s hot, fast and has a lot of moving parts.”
Crews are reminded of the importance of staying hydrated in the extreme heat. Water breaks are frequent and mandatory.
“We use a hot asphalt which comes out of our distributor at temperatures as high as 350 degrees,” said TxDOT Atlanta District Seal Coat Specialist Cody Fuller. “On top of that, you have roadway temperatures that could reach up to 150 degrees.”
The best time to perform the operation is when temperatures are above 90 degrees. “We rely on the heat to help these materials cure out,” Berryhill said.
Seal coat operations are an important part of preserving roadways across Texas. The process involves an application of hot asphalt to an existing paved surface.
The asphalt is then covered with a layer of rocks. The process helps seal and preserve the pavement. The aggregate provides the surface with texture, which adds friction to make the pavement safer.
“It’s kind of like putting paint on a house, it protects your investment,” Berryhill said. Seal coating a roadway can extend the life of the pavement for up to seven years.
TxDOT crews appreciate the public’s patience when it comes to encountering these work zones. Motorists are advised to be cautious for several reasons.
“We ask folks to use slower speeds when they encounter our work zones,” Fuller said. “With seal coat, there could be a lot of loose gravel. There will also be a lot of people and employees moving around.
“It’s very economical,” Berryhill said. “We could not maintain all the roadways we have without this process.”
Working on a seal coat job means long hours for those involved.
“We start work sometimes at six in the morning, and sometimes we’re still out there working when it comes to eight o’clock in the evening,” Berryhill said. “That just shows the dedication of the workers we have at TxDOT.”