The NJ turnpike has been under construction for… forever. But this summer, I feel like I’m maneuvering through an amusement park on Mars every time I hop on this major thoroughfare.
First of all, seeing people walking around is just so strange. We’re used to seeing a road-worker or two along the way, but I’m talking miles of throngs of people in the middle of the highway, milling about like they’re on vacation at Disney World. And they all have matching neon yellow shirts.
They have completely torn up the middle lanes and expertly redirected traffic on both sides in a silky smooth transition. Down the center of the destruction lie heaps of building materials of all kinds – things you would never imagine to be involved in building a road – isn’t it just a layer of asphalt on the ground? Pipes, wires, grids, sand, stones, sheets of what looks like landscape fabric… and on and on.
Strange-looking machinery reminiscent of War of the Worlds moves back and forth, performing the heavy lifting. Today I saw one small machine that was unmanned – must have been a robot, but I couldn’t figure out it’s purpose.
When I think of what it takes to get a small group of people organized to do a simple project, it baffles me that these construction guys can actually pull off something of this magnitude. I have a new respect for the profession. Carrying out the demo and the build seems difficult enough, but when I imagine the planning that went into all of it – the dependencies of getting this part done before that part, estimating the supplies, and just figuring out how to make the most durable, safest road possible – it’s just mind-boggling.
Kudos to you, construction crews, engineers, and mechanics. Thank you for risking your own lives to keep mine safe on my drive to and from work, and for making the best effort to keep my commute time to a minimum (although right now, it pretty much sucks).