LORDSTOWN -- Bari Lambert has one of the loneliest jobs on the 241-mile Ohio Turnpike.
It gives her plenty of time to enjoy the scenery from her toll booth. And when a driver stops to pay, she banters with the regulars or answers questions from confused motorists because there's no one waiting impatiently.
The pace is especially slow now at her exit, which leads to the GM Lordstown assembly plant that is shut down through August.
In May, the most recent month for which figures are available, 608 vehicles a day used the exit. That's about 25 an hour.
The busiest turnpike exits average more than 400 vehicles an hour.
"I don't mind the quiet," said Lambert, who has worked at Exit 215 since it opened in June 1993 and turned down opportunities to become a supervisor or to move to a busier interchange. "I'm fortunate I have a job I enjoy."
She works 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. five days a week, including every other weekend.
"l never put in for a supervisor job because I don't want to take my job home with me," Lambert said. "The part of the job I enjoy working in the lane is talking to people. Being happy in my job is more important than money."
She said the only downside is getting sprayed with rain or snow from windshield wipers when she leans out to collect the toll.
Exits 215 and 216 flank the sprawling plant. Exit 215 is for exiting eastbound traffic and traffic entering westbound. Exit 216 handles exiting westbound traffic and entering eastbound traffic.
The $5.8 million split interchange was built specifically for General Motors Corp. suppliers, visitors and what were then 10,000 employees on three shifts.
When it reopens, the plant will have about 2,000 workers on one shift. The plant made the Pontiac G5 and Chevrolet Cobalt but will manufacture the Cobalt's replacement, the Chevrolet Cruze.
Still, Exit 215 has always been among the three quietest exchanges on the turnpike, even during its busiest year -- 1996 -- when 603,000 vehicles entered and exited. But it gets more use than Exit 216, due mainly to GM deliveries coming east from Detroit, turnpike officials said.
Last year, 473,330 vehicles entered and exited at 215, and this year's pace is 8.5 percent less.
Night shift workers at the two exits are likely to be replaced by automated payment machines by the end of the year. But the day shifts will continue to be staffed.
Lambert, 60, could listen to a radio or read during quiet moments but prefers to enjoy the silence and look out her windows at the tall grasses, geese and ducks.
"I feel like I'm around nature, but enclosed," she said.
Andy Eippert, the day supervisor, worked at busy interchanges at Niles and Streetsboro before coming to Lordstown about 18 months ago.
Eippert said some exiting drivers mistakenly think there are gas stations, restaurants and hotels nearby. Others are simply lost.
"And some Christians have exited, thinking it is 'Lord's Town,'$?" he said. "I tell them all Lordstown is, is a plant and some town buildings."