When people first think of work zones, most think of summer construction taking place on the highways. But motorists need to use extra caution all year long, including the winter, when workers are clearing the roadways of snow and ice.
This month’s #IAMKDOT feature is Tom McCartney, Area Superintendent in El Dorado, and he knows this all too well. His truck has been hit twice - once when a vehicle slid into the side of his truck and once when he got rear-ended during white out conditions on the Interstate.
“Snow and ice is a whole different experience. Working north of Wichita – people passing on both sides in blinding snow,” he said. “Then a half mile down the road, there they are in the ditch.”
McCartney has spent his 23-year career working along the highways. He has worked in Marion and Newton, then was promoted to Supervisor at the Hutchinson Subarea Office. He’s been in his current position for the past two years.
He said it’s also very different working along a two-lane highway with lower traffic volumes versus a multi-lane divided Interstate.
“Coming from Marion, that was an eye opening experience. There were times I had to wait 10 minutes to safely cross the road to get in the median,” he said. “If it was rush hour, it could take longer.
“I don’t think drivers understand what it’s like to have traffic come by at a high rate of speed and how quickly something tragic can happen,” McCartney said. “It can get bad in a hurry.”
When not working, he likes to spend his time with his wife and four grown children. He also is an avid sports fans and a horse trader. McCartney grew up training horses and sustained numerous injuries in the process – he broke his neck when he was 14, has had multiple concussions, has broken all his ribs and separated a shoulder. Now he lets his oldest son train the horses most of the time.
#IAMKDOT is an illustration project that recognizes KDOT employees who work hard to keep Kansans moving. This series also serves as a reminder for travelers to slow down and remember that underneath those neon vests are individuals with families, friends and hobbies waiting for them at home.
Do you know a KDOT worker that deserves recognition? Nominations are open! Email Mallory.Goeke@KS.gov today to get started!