Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

April 30, 2011

Living Not-Quite-Off the Highway



     In the late 1970s my husband Monte and I were looking to purchase a home more adaptable to family life than the Cape Cod house we were living in with our two young children. We really liked one house we looked at in Harrisville, Pennsylvania. It was an old house, a fact affirmed by its foot-thick walls. The layout was acceptable.

     What wasn’t acceptable was that the front door, with its stone steps, was a mere six feet away from the edge of the highway. Traffic included semi- and coal trucks. The risk of one of them sliding off the road into the house intimidated me.

     We purchased vacant land and built our home about eight hundred feet off the road. We now live off a dead end road in a small park-like community. In neither case is there any threat of a vehicle running into our home.

     Our house is not far from the Lincoln Highway, Rt. 30, in Laughlintown, Pennsylvania. Yesterday afternoon I heard sirens pass by on the road. Today’s newspaper tells me they were headed to Rt. 30, where an SUV involved in a two-vehicle collision veered off the road into a home.

     It wasn’t long ago that a car raced down Laurel Mountain into Laughlintown in the middle of the night. The drunk driver lost control, veered off the road in front of the post office, drove over the small cement barriers, flew into the air, and crashed into a house, rendering it unlivable. The driver didn’t survive, but the owners of the house weren’t injured. A rebuilt home is located at the back of that lot, reducing tremendously the risk of another car-house collision.

     As I drive Rt. 30 into Ligonier from Laurel Mountain Borough I marvel at the number of houses set at the very edge of the highway. Large coal trucks, and now Marcellus shale trucks, travel the heavily used road, and if they are traveling west they have momentum from coming off the mountain. It makes me glad I live away from the hazards of trucks passing so close to my house that I can reach out and touch them.



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