Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Squeezing Construction In Between the Rains

On expressways near here, construction has been spilling over into evening rush hour, creating 15-minute delays as drivers have to form a single lane to get by. It seemed like the dumbest thing until I remembered that this construction was scheduled to be done at night. But it has rained 10 out of the last 11 nights, and most of the days too. A construction crew can’t just stand by forever. After all the delays they’ve been through, when a non-rainy day pops up, they have to go to work.

Construction was supposed to be the main program in the so-called stimulus package that would get the U.S. economy moving again. June is usually the best construction month of the year, but inconveniently, there has been rain in the forecast every day this month for most of the northeast quarter of the country. In more than a few areas there has been flooding. I doubt that even the construction that had been planned before the Economic Recovery Act is getting done this month. The rain is slowing everything down.

Surely the weather will be more auspicious than this at some point in the next four months, and all the construction that’s been budgeted will get done. But with the economy already slowing down, this extra slowdown in the construction schedules is a bit of bad luck.