How Louisville construction workers stand up to the wind, snow and frigid cold of the Ohio River Bridges project

Updated Jan 7, 2014

Walsh Construciton workers at work on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville. Credit: WAVE-TV

There’s been a lot of talk about the Polar Vortex lately that’s giving a great deal of the country a pretty good feeling of what it’s like to live in an arctic climate. And yet, there are those who are still going out there each and every day and facing that cold like it’s no big deal.

Take for instance the folks at Walsh Construction who are working on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky. They recently detailed to TV station WAVE how they keep working despite the cold weather.

The $2.5 billion project includes the construction of two new bridges over the Ohio River as well as the reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange and ramps on Interstate 65 between I-264 and downtown.

When it comes to snow, project manager Max Rowland told the station “They’ll get the shovels out; they’ll clean the paths just like we clean our sidewalks and driveways. They’ll clean a path down to where they’ll work; they’ll clean the equipment off. We have the ice melt that we put on our steps.”

And when it comes to concrete, the workers add warm water to the ready mix to keep the concrete warm before putting insulated blankets around the form to keep the heat in, Rowland explained.

That’s not to say the workers don’t ever need a break from the frigid wind and cold off the icy Ohio. That’s why Walsh has placed a warming trailer on the barge they work from for them to duck in and get warm for a bit, Rowland said.

Apart from the cold, rain and snowfall have raised the level of the river, making it difficult for the Walsh crews to keep their barges in position. Because of that, the whole marine fleet has been secured to the banks.

However, even the tough crew at Walsh decided not to brave the full brunt of the Vortex.  The company issued a press release on Monday that said it had cancelled work for the day and this morning, expecting work to resume tonight when temperatures rise.