An East Texas woman's journey to become an earth mover - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

An East Texas woman's journey to become an earth mover

By Jamey Boyum.

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) – It takes a lot of people who know how to run big equipment to build a road. These days, those people have become much more varied. If you can get the right license, you can be an earth mover.

If you live in Smith County, you probably know about the Loop 49 project. It will eventually be a fast and efficient way to get all the way around Tyler. The road through this area needs to be raised by 20 feet, and that will take a whole lot of trips with a dump truck.

Lori Burley has been driving this big equipment for five years.

"Hay haulers, I can run traffic control, I can run the water truck. Just about anything they put me on I can figure out how to run it," says Burley.

Burley was a cook at a nursing home, and then her husband got her a job as a flagger. From there she went into high gear, as did other members of her family.

"My 18-year-old, he just started out here. And, I have three older boys that at some point in their life, they've all worked out here," added Burley.

In the dump truck, she hauls 14 square yards of dirt every 10 minutes or so. And she's not the only "earth-movette" out there. There are three others.

The ride in the dump truck looks pretty smooth from outside the vehicle, but those huge tires give Burley quite a ride.

"There's a lot of bouncing from side to side, so you get a pretty good workout. It takes a lot out of you, and you use muscles you don't know you have," says Burley.

Lori also says she can also operate a back hoe and a bulldozer, and that most of the equipment is not as hard to run as it looks.

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