Even as the Mercury drops on the thermometer, city crews are still out on the job.  

According to Director of Public Works and Utilities Darrin Stephanson, construction crews will go out in extremely cold conditions if it is an emergency, but otherwise, their duties will be modified to try and keep them indoors as much as possible.  

“That's not stuff we'd like to do unless it's an emergency. One, for the people in the conditions that they're put in and, two, it becomes quite hard on the equipment to break through the pavement and frozen ground and stuff at some of those extreme temperatures,” Stephanson said.   

“So, we try to find some alternate duties more maintenance-related when we hit some of those temperatures.”  

The equipment operators are in heated vehicles, so the elements don’t impact them much, but there are policies in place with the city for those who do have to work outside in the extreme cold.  

“Certainly, our construction crews do repairs on our water and our wastewater distribution system, for example. They're working outside of vehicles, often in wet holes in the ground, so very unpleasant environments. So yeah, they do have various types of PPE that we supply in the winter,” Stephanson said.  

Stephanson said they make sure that, if construction crews need to go out in the extreme weather, they are dressed appropriately, and they recommend workers take more frequent breaks to warm up in vehicles on site.  

The city posted a video of construction crews fixing a manhole during the cold snap at the beginning of January, which you can watch below.