Saturday, November 27, 1999

Engineers doubt wisdom of night road work

The Associated Press

        DAYTON, Ohio — The state's policy of paving some interstate highways under the moon instead of the sun wastes money and hurts the quality of the work, some county engineers say.

        The highway construction season is winding down this week, and motorists across Ohio have a chance to see what they've gotten in exchange for months of creeping past orange barrels. What they're seeing is often the result of a compromise: roads built under artificial lighting by crews paid extra to work at night to minimize rush-hour backups.

        Greene County Engineer Robert Geyer estimates night work costs 10 percent more than day work.

        “The biggest problem is you're paying a premium for the work, but in my opinion you're not getting the same product,” he said. “I don't care how many lights you put on the job, it can't match what Mother Nature gives you in the daytime. You're just not going to get the same quality.”

        Montgomery County Engineer Joe Litvin agrees.

        “I don't think it's really cost-effective in terms of loss of efficiency in working at night,” said Mr. Lit vin. “I don't think you can inspect nearly as well when you're doing things at night.”

        Mr. Litvin said a better approach is to get jobs done faster by working longer daylight hours.

        Gordon Proctor, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, has said that whenever possible interstate highways will not be reduced to one lane during peak driving hours.

        “As a result, we've started doing more work at night. We want to keep people moving as much as possible,” said ODOT spokesman Brian Cunningham.


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