SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 9, 2014

Our view: Courtesy and care needed on road projects

With road construction and maintenance season in full swing, the inevitable conflicts between work crews, commuters and nearby residents have returned. A little courtesy among all parties would do much to reduce these tensions.

But from our sister paper The Daily News of Newburyport comes a story of inconsiderate behavior the likes of which we have rarely encountered. It involves the effort to build the new Interstate 95 bridge over the Merrimack River, an important project that unfortunately has produced some unexpected consequences.

The project has generated complaints from neighbors about the near-constant noise and disruption. But on the Amesbury side of the river, it’s a more personal matter. It got so bad, the state shut down the entire work site in order to deal with an inexcusable insult directed at the Taylor family on Main Street.

The Taylor family has a condo that is about 10 feet from the highway right-of-way, and what had for years been a thick stand of trees is now a highway under construction. A massive girder looms directly next to their home. Vehicles, machinery, dirt — they are all virtually in their living room. The work, which starts at 7 a.m. and continues into the night, has made their home life miserable. Indeed, when a Daily News reporter stopped by during a relative lull to interview the family, he was surprised to see that the glass doors inside the fireplace were shaking. That was nothing compared to other problems the family says it has witnessed.

The family’s complaints, reported in The Daily News, resulted in retribution by a worker or workers on the site. In response to a comment by Mr. Taylor calling the situation akin to living in Fallujah, someone scrawled “Welcome to Fallujah, Baby!” on a girder next to their home. Another worker was fired when he lost control of a massive beam that was being maneuvered into place; the beam almost struck their home.

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