Thursday, March 12, 2009


As I've mentioned before, we live in a very small historic town, which later changed its status to become a city. It still looks and functions like a small town.

Our street is only about a 1/2 block long, and there are just 4 houses on either side, all with small yards. It is a one-way street due to it being so narrow, and there is no on-street parking. It used to be a gravel alley, which was eventually paved.

Our little street has no curbs, sidewalks, or storm water drainage so when it rains the water runs off into our yards, which is fine, and it puddles in the low areas of the street, which is not fine. The latter has become troublesome. When the water forms large, shallow ponds in the street it requires dog walkers to walk in neighbors' yards' to bypass the ponds. When vehicles drive through the ponds it splashes water everywhere. And in the winter the ponds have frozen, creating a dangerous environment for drivers and pedestrians.

So last summer several neighbors and I attended a city meeting where street improvements were discussed. I learned that the city had planned to repair and resurface several streets with too many patches or potholes, and planned to completely replace our street after storm water drains had been installed. Hurray! We'll be able to see our tax dollars at work. We were told the project would start in the spring, but we'd be notified prior to the start of construction.

On Tues several construction guys walked up and down the street locating all the utilities and spray painting the street, driveways, and yards with neon yellow, orange, blue, and pink.

On Wed more construction guys arrived with blue prints, surveying equipment, and short wooden stakes with colored flags on them.

Today several pieces of heavy-duty construction equipment were delivered, along with some huge steel platforms. They were delivered to the vacant lot across the street from our house. The lot is owned by someone, but I guess the city has decided they will use it as a staging area.

So much for being notified prior to the start of construction. Or, maybe they don't consider this "construction". Maybe this is simply construction foreplay.

The start of this street re-construction project stirs mixed feelings in me. On the positive side it will be great to have storm water drainage and a new street surface that won't turn into a giant pond when it rains.

But on the negative side they are going to straighten out the direction of the street, which will shorten our driveway by about 10". Also, I am NOT looking forward to all the noise, dirt in the air, and inconvenience.

They will be completely ripping up and removing the existing street, so jack hammers will surely provide an annoying soundtrack to their work for a few days. Then there's the beeping sound from the bulldozer and front-end loaders when in reverse gear. Then there's the clanging and clanking of steel and concrete as the drainage basins are installed. For most people who leave the house to go to work, this isn't a big deal. But to people like me who work at home, it is a much bigger consideration.

Let's not forget about all the dirt that will be stirred up and blown around, either. Our house, porch, porch furniture, and cars will be covered in dirt daily, just as they were when a nearby construction project took place.

Oh wait - not our cars - they won't be covered in dirt because we won't be able to park them in our driveway! That's right. Since construction will begin at 7am and go til 5 or 6pm each day, we will not be able to park in our driveway during those hours, unless we want to risk being blocked in the entire day. So we will have to park our cars on alternate streets and walk to and from our house.

They estimate this will take 4-6 weeks, but I am betting it will take at least 8 weeks. Project are rarely completed by the estimated date, due to weather/rain and other conditions.

Reading back over this I sound like a crotchety old man! I suppose I should look at the bright side and think about how nice it will be when its all over.

Crush du Jour: Brian Carr


A Lewis said...

"4 hours on either side"??? Wow...that's a LONG way between neighbors! I'm with you....especially in such a small historic area. you know, in some ways I sure hate technology and advancement.

Anonymous said...

That's ok. The roads around me are in horrible shape. They need to be torn up and re-laid.

You'll get used to the noise and dust.

Bob said...

Not crotchety.
Not old.
Just annoyed, especially knowing it'll take longer than the city's guesstimate.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain; I work evenings and nights, I sleep in the day. I am to the point that I am looking for another job, since last year's non-stop yard work made sleep nigh impossible without medication. I shudder to think about jackhammers!

On the flip side, this should improve your resale prospect/price, if you ever want to do that. Hope you make it through with a minimum of inconvenience.

Anonymous said...

There are things you have to sacrifice for some improvements. First, complaining about no water drainage and now complaining because of the noise/dirt/work that will happen when they redo your street. Just look at it this way, by the summer your street will be the best one of the city - very Wisteria Lane...

cb said...

Hmm. I'd at least agree with the "crotchety" part. :-)

You wanted a new street, and by spring you'll have one. Sounds sweet to me!

Anonymous said...

Um, did you consider that some of the workers might be hot and that you will have a good view from your office window all day?

tornwordo said...

Id be crotchety too. (And may I add that I love that word.) You'll be lucky if it's done in three months.