Construction "songs of the summer"

Usually when magazines and newspapers write articles about the "sounds of summer" they mention "I Get Around" by The Beach Boys, "Groovin'" by the Rascals, "Surf City" by Jan & Dean, or even "4th of July, Asbury Park" by Bruce Springsteen. That's all fine "summer" music but this morning on a trek to Chicago's northern suburbs I got a chance to listen to some different, and possibly "better," summer music. Temperatures this morning were (finally) in the eighties, the sun was high in a bright blue sky... and I sat in six traffic backups of varying lengths that transformed a 90-minute roundtrip into a 150-minute roundtrip. Yes, summer is wonderful! Seriously! And the sounds of summer are music to my ears -- even if I have to sit in traffic to listen. I jumped on I-294 (which allows drivers to circumvent downtown Chicago) just at the end of the rush hour and had plenty of time to watch crews hard at work on the I-294 reconstruction project. While passing hundreds of orange-and-white barrels and hundreds more bright orange cones of varying sizes I counted 17 arrow boards and at least 7 message boards -- and I might have missed a few. Work zone speed limit signs and signs designating lane shifts and new traffic patterns were plentiful, and I had plenty of time to watch the Big Boys and their crews hard at work -- no paving work yet but an awful lot of big equipment out there making preparations. Once I got off 294 the traffic continued in a snarl -- but all to a good cause! A Wirtgen W2000 cold planer had already done its job on eastbound lanes of Dempster Avenue and was beginning its work milling what looked to be about 3 inches of pavement off the westbound lanes. And not too far behind it was an Elgin Eagle sweeping up leftover millings. And a few miles down more milling had been completed and temporary lane markings had already been sprayed onto the surface. It all sounded good to me. And then, possibly the best news of the trip, was my destination featured a recently sealcoated and newly striped parking lot, a good-sized one too. I took a tour of the lot to check out job quality ... only to realize it must have been done by a Pavement reader as the pavement appeared to have been recently cracksealed, new stripes were straight, ends of stripes were sharp and lined up, and all the places I checked there was no spillage or overspray of sealer on brick or concrete. The work there was complete so there were no summer sounds of sealcoating systems or striping equipment, but the evidence was obvious: They'd been there working. So next time you're in a conversation about "songs of the summer" let other folks bring up Alice Cooper ("School's Out") or Steppenwolf ("Born to Be Wild"), but make sure to mention the real music made by construction equipment working in every city, making every jobsite its own outdoor music festival. (But don't forget about "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful, the first rock band to include the sound of a jackhammer in a pop song.)

Loading