Career summary

Details for Highway Maintenance Workers


Description

Maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way. Duties include patching broken or eroded pavement, repairing guard rails, highway markers, and snow fences. May also mow or clear brush from along road or plow snow from roadway.

Tasks

  • Set out signs and cones around work areas to divert traffic.
  • Flag motorists to warn them of obstacles or repair work ahead.
  • Perform preventative maintenance on vehicles and heavy equipment.
  • Drive trucks to transport crews and equipment to work sites.
  • Erect, install, or repair guardrails, road shoulders, berms, highway markers, warning signals, and highway lighting, using hand tools and power tools.
  • Clean and clear debris from culverts, catch basins, drop inlets, ditches, and other drain structures.
  • Drive heavy equipment and vehicles with adjustable attachments to sweep debris from paved surfaces, mow grass and weeds, remove snow and ice, and spread salt and sand.
  • Haul and spread sand, gravel, and clay to fill washouts and repair road shoulders.
  • Inspect, clean, and repair drainage systems, bridges, tunnels, and other structures.
  • Remove litter and debris from roadways, including debris from rock and mud slides.
  • Dump, spread, and tamp asphalt, using pneumatic tampers, to repair joints and patch broken pavement.
  • Perform roadside landscaping work, such as clearing weeds and brush, and planting and trimming trees.
  • Apply poisons along roadsides and in animal burrows to eliminate unwanted roadside vegetation and rodents.
  • Measure and mark locations for installation of markers, using tape, string, or chalk.
  • Paint traffic control lines and place pavement traffic messages, by hand or using machines.
  • Apply oil to road surfaces, using sprayers.
  • Inspect markers to verify accurate installation.
  • Place and remove snow fences used to prevent the accumulation of drifting snow on highways.
  • Blend compounds to form adhesive mixtures used for marker installation.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Skills

  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Related careers

  • Construction Laborers
  • Fence Erectors
  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
  • Pipelayers