A long time ago in a state somewhere in the United States of America, the Hubby and I had our first encounter with nighttime road work. It was on an interstate highway and we were impressed with the thoughtful consideration that must have gone into the decision to work at night so as not to disrupt the heavier daytime traffic. In this situation, work crews labored under huge lights in one lane while the other remained open to motorists.

Over the years, the practice of overnight road work has become much more common and just about every driver has encountered it.

Hubby’s been gone for nearly two decades now, but I’d love to be able to discuss with him this trend and how it was recently used in the burg of Shippens.

Now, maybe I knew about this impending event or maybe I didn’t. (We news junkies read so much that some of the data is bound to get lost in the shuffle, or at least intertwined with other facts.) One Friday evening, orange cones appeared at numerous intersections with our home street. The nephew brought it to my attention and questioned the need for these street-blockers. “My best guess is that they’re going to work on the street overnight,” I suggested. A milling machine had been parked at the corner for several days. Somehow I knew it wasn’t there as an ornament. “I’m pretty sure the procedure is to grind off the street’s top layer then replace it with fresh paving,” I said.

“And they’re going to do this at night?” he inquired, his face riddled with confusion.

“We’ll soon find out,” I replied.

And soon we found out. Human voices mixed with the growl of road “destruction” machinery and large dump trucks. For as long as I could, I ignored the sounds until curiosity got the better of my inquiring mind and I opened the front door. There, to my wondering eyes, were yellow-vested, hard-hatted individuals walking along the big machine as it chewed up well-worn blacktop. (I hope they’re wearing ear protection, I thought.)

Before long, it was time for bed. Would the noise be a problem?

Yes it would! Falling asleep was difficult. My usual sleep inducer, the TV, was useless as its soothing tones were drowned out by heavy equipment. When the noise moved away from the house for a few minutes, sleep took over. But in a few winks, the roar was back. Upon being jolted awake, I glanced at the window only to see what my brain interpreted as sunshine. “Time to get up!” brain told body. Clock, on the other hand, declared it was only 1 a.m. Oh, that’s not sunshine, that’s light being produced by generators so the workers can see what they’re doing. I wonder if they get paid extra for working these odd hours? I wonder if I can fall asleep again?

Finally, the odds were defied and sleep won out. A few hours later, I groggily awoke to relative silence. They were gone. A look outside revealed a very rough street. That meant they’d be back.

And they were. It was another night job. This time, the project was a bit quieter, seeing as how there was no need for a monster to chomp up asphalt. The bright lights got me a couple of times during the work. I thought for sure I’d slept way past “get up time.” But the lights had me fooled.

The street is nice and smooth now. Speaking for the residents of Fayette Street who sacrificed peace, quiet and sleep for this dream to become a reality, “you’re welcome” and please, try to

keep the noise down when you’re in the neighborhood; we’re sleeping!

 

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