What Do Highway Maintenance Workers Do?
In order to maintain a city’s infrastructure, state and local governments depend on highway maintenance workers to repair and maintain highways as well as rural and municipal roads. Some of the more generalized responsibilities that will be expected of you include repairing guard rails, fixing snow fences and patching up broken pavement. Repairing runways at airports may also be needed. As infrastructure continues to decay all over the country, more and more states are in need of high-quality highway workers. Annual growth of 6% is expected for the next decade. That means there are projected to be 3,030 job openings every year. There is plenty of work to go around, so this can be a highly advantageous career to pursue.
Highway Maintenance Workers Skills and Abilities
Knowledge of construction and building highway structures is vital, and you should also be familiar with the safe and secure way to go about doing this. You will also be knowledgeable about state and local laws and codes that can affect how you go about fixing highways. When you are actually out in the field, you will need to monitor traffic conditions and your co-workers’ behavior to make sure everyone is safe. You should also have the capability to monitor and maintain all the equipment you will be using. This includes troubleshooting errors, so you can fix an issue before it gets worse. Excellent reaction time is needed because you never know when something unexpected will happen, and you need to react accordingly.
Highway Maintenance Workers Duties
Numerous tasks will be expected of you, and you should be prepared to handle any of them efficiently. Before construction actually begins, you will need to set out cones and signs letting traffic know that you will be out there fixing the road. You may also need to drive the machinery out to the site. If materials need to be hauled away, then you should know the proper way to load everything up and where to transport it. There are various materials you may be in charge of installing on the sides of roads like highway markers, lighting and guardrails. Every day is different for a highway maintenance worker, so some other duties you may be accountable for can include:
- Spreading sand or other materials onto a surface.
- Applying concrete.
- Removing trash and other debris from a work site.
- Measuring the dimensions of your work area.
- Maintaining pipes and other fixtures underneath the road.
- Mixing substances and compounds.
Highway Maintenance Workers Tools and Technology
When you are working on a road, there are a variety of tools you will need to use. A short list of what you will be using on a regular basis includes:
- Dump trucks
- Sewer cleaners
- Aggregate spreaders
- Pavers and tar distributors
Education and Training for Highway Maintenance Workers
A high school diploma or its equivalent is generally all that is needed to obtain a position. An ample amount of on-site training will be required, so you can become familiar with all the various practices. You may also be asked to take some instructional programs in traffic control and heavy equipment operation to become more proficient in those areas.
Highway Maintenance Workers Salary
The median wage for highway maintenance workers is around $17.59 an hour across the country. However, this means that some workers will make a lot more and some will make a lot less. The top tenth percentile is around $26.37 an hour.
Highway Maintenance Workers Jobs by Geography
Continuing with salary, the top paying states for this line of work are Alaska, New Jersey and Illinois. However, the states with the highest levels of employment for this occupation are New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. This is a great career to get into, so consider all your options before making a final decision.