Our road is being re-paved! Well, not our road, Wapping road, the “major artery” that connects us to the rest of the world.
A little geography for those who haven’t been here: Aquidneck Island has 2 main North/South arteries that run the length of the island – East Main Road and West Main Road. There are also some smaller streets that parallel these for long stretches. Wapping Road is one of these, running through parts of Middletown and Portsmouth.
We live on a dead-end private road. It was mostly dirt (read: ruts a foot deep and dangerously muddy every time it rained) until a few years ago. It’s now mostly paved, except for the section in front of the crazy guy’s house, who didn’t want to pave (too hard to explain – he’s just nuts.). Our road connects to Wapping.
Wapping Road is a bucolic, tree- lined , two lane road, bordered by ponds, cow pastures,lovely homes and vineyards, that appears to have last been re-paved sometime in the Eisenhower administration. It would be a lovely drive, if not for the ‘drive’ part. The drainage is so awful that parts of the northbound lane flood completely during storms and snowmelt. The winter potholes are legendary. Cold patch repair crews fill them with asphalt, only to have the patch pulled out (along with a few more inches of road) the next time the snowplow comes by.
So, when a sign went up a couple of weeks ago announcing that work would begin on November 2 and run thru December 21, it was met with equal parts joy and trepidation. Of course the road needed paving, but it would sure make getting in and out difficult for a while.
Things began right on schedule on Monday. The first section was chewed up, spat out, and rolled flat before dark (which arrives at about 4:45 around here right now). Police officers set up blocks at both ends of the section, detouring the interlopers and directing locals. It was loud, dusty, and annoying.
Tuesday morning, I stepped out on the back porch at 6. The air was still and crisp, the full moon still shining brightly enough in the west to cast shadows as the sun began to rise in the east. I could hear the mallards on the pond murmuring to each other, and the Great Horned Owl hoot-ing softly in the next field. And from the road, came…
No commuters sped up Wapping at 50 miles an hour to avoid traffic on the main road. No late-partying drunks used the torn-up back street to evade the police. It was just the soft sounds of a newly-awakened world. Bliss, sheer bliss.
The road-building resumed by about 8, and continued daily, with the binder (the first layer of asphalt) going down on Friday afternoon. I’ve learned to time my errands to coincide with lunch breaks or the end of the work day. On Friday, I just didn’t come back until after 4. I’d be willing to do that forever if it meant getting to keep the quiet around a while longer.