“Why can’t they do this roadwork at night?!” It’s quite possible you or someone you know has uttered these words in frustration when faced with construction and traffic disruptions. With unprecedented growth comes growing pains, and our road systems in Idaho are no exception. Local highway jurisdictions statewide are responding to the need by building and repairing more roadways than ever before.

So, why can’t we build, update, and maintain our roads at night? Well, sometimes we can. But when we can’t, the first reason is safety. Roadway work uses heavy equipment, and at night, accidents are more likely with less visibility and less reliance on sound due to quiet hours. Loud backup alarms and bright lights are necessary to keep workers and motorists safe. Since sacrificing our workers’ and the public’s safety isn’t an option, we’re often left to choose between disturbing a neighborhood’s sleep or disrupting its morning commute.

The next common reason is due to logistics and complications. Roadwork isn’t one activity like installing a sign. With roadwork, the contractor is orchestrating a symphony of interconnected activities to finish the project quickly and on budget. Long drawn out grading or small detail work doesn’t lend itself to night work. But when it is possible and cost effective, the local highway jurisdictions do work at night. They may shift hours or use a host of innovative ideas from automated equipment to precast, prebuilt, and staged activities to reduce the project time and delays.

The next time you’re caught in construction traffic, remember local highway jurisdictions are working to provide you the best roadway improvements they can while keeping everyone safe and meeting project deadlines and budget. Staying informed and vigilant is a great way to alleviate some of the headache that can come with road construction. Watching the news for updates on road work, following relevant social media pages, and keeping an eye out for signage that indicates future roadwork and corresponding detours are sound practices that will help you plan your commute accordingly and mitigate inconveniences.