Toiling away in the summer heat in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Toiling away in the summer heat in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Let's get real for a second: Air conditioning is awesome. In fact, I'm writing this story from my air-conditioned office right now.

But not every worker is so lucky.

As temperatures are hitting the high 80's and low 90's, and with the heat index nearing 100, some are on their daily grind out in that heat.

Take, for example, construction on the US 151/61 bridge south of Dubuque.

Construction is a summer staple, meaning there are crews out there in the sweltering heat.

Construction on a bridge leaves you about as exposed to the elements as you can be.

Yet, Hugh Holak, the resident construction engineer in Manchester for the Iowa Department of Transportation, says it can be nice because there's usually a breeze. But the lack of shade certainly hurts, he says.

"If you're down underneath, there is shade, but there's no breeze," he said -- a seemingly no-win situation in this kind of heat.

Holak says his crews and the contractors also working on the bridge pace themselves, take breaks and drink plenty of water when it gets this hot.

He also says they keep on eye on each other to make sure no one is exhibiting signs of heat stress.

But while the thought of manual labor after sitting in a climate-controlled office all day might sound like the single worst thing ever, Holak says they get used to the heat.

"We're outside every day, so as the season has gone on, you slowly adjust to it," he said. "It's not like you're in an air-conditioned office and the next day you're out here, so that helps as well."

Across town, nearly 100 employees of North American Midway are busy setting up 22 rides, along with game and food booths, for the 62nd-annual Dubuque County Fair.

Pat Repp, general manager of the company, says they start their work early in the spring down south and work their way north as the summer moves along.

So yes, it's hot, he says, but it's not anything new.

"To be honest with you, this is one of the warmer days we've had, but it's nothing we're not used to," Repp said.

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