Officials Say This Is "Road Building Weather"

Craighead County, Arkansas -- "This is road building weather right here," said Bill Lester.

Bill Lester should know, he spent forty years building roads from coast to coast.

For most of us, the intense summer heat will take a toll, but officials with the highway department say now is the time to build and maintain the roads and that the hot weather is welcome.

"For road construction it doesn't get any better than this....if it never rained it would be great for road construction," said Joe Barnett.

Joe Barnett , with the highway department, says the asphalt on the roads is relatively unaffected by the intense heat.

"100 or 100 plus is not an issue at all for putting the asphalt down.  It's just an issue for the workers," said Barnett.

Barnett says concrete is more likely to be adversely affected by the hot summer sun.

"Hot weather, when it gets over 100 degrees could cause problems with the concrete pavements because they will expand so much that it could cause some failures," said Barnett.

"In rare cases does asphalt get so hot it would liquify. In fact, Barnett says more damage is done to the roads when it's very cold and very wet.

"Hot mix asphalt will withstand considerable hotter temperatures than this, and we design for concrete pavements to handle it, but that is the biggest maintenance problem we have and that is with the concrete," said Barnett.

Barnett says with weather like this, the only limiting factor is how much heat the workers can handle.

"Most of them are working 10 hours a day in the sun because this is the weather we like to build roads in," said Barnett.

Building roads has been a way of life for Bill Lester, and this year is a reminder of stifling summers past.... building miles and miles of roads beneath the unforgiving August sun.