Thursday, May 31, 2018

520 Next Phase Noise Construction Impacts

Last month, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) granted WSDOT a nighttime construction noise variance for the next phase of the SR 520 Montlake construction stating:
This Major Public Project Construction Noise Variance defines the allowable nighttime noise limits of Montlake Phase construction, identifies measures to minimize nighttime construction noise for neighbors, and requires WSDOT to meet specific conditions established with the variance. 
More detailed information regarding the city’s decision and the specific conditions in the variance can be found on the SDCI’s Land Use Information Bulletin (project #3030792). 

The recent Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) newsletter published a letter from citizens across various neighborhoods:

Citizen Advocacy, Construction Impacts 
by Pete DeLaunay, president of the Portage Bay Roanoke Park Community Council and part of a coalition of impacted Seattle neighborhoods Laurelhurst, Montlake, Portage Bay, Roanoke Park and North Capitol Hill  – representing 8,000+ Seattle families. Trustee Colleen McAleer represents LCC in this coalition.

We are fortunate to live in a city where an informed citizenry can prevent government over reach. Impacts from replacement of the SR520 bridge replacement on hundreds of Seattle residents is a good example. It has mobilized impacted Seattle residents to raise legitimate fact-based objections and suggestions for improvement as the $4.5B project dissects dense neighborhoods.  
Informed neighborhood volunteers are not being silenced as bridge builders with unlimited resources provide reams of detailed rationale for exceeding Seattle’s noise ordinances, managing traffic congestion on surface streets and amending previous commitments to complete the project more cheaply and quickly.   
Seattle communities are speaking with one voice, to protect the health and well being of residents from construction impacts. Neighborhoods do not dispute the value of the bridge replacement but we will continue to raise health and environmental concerns, holding bridge builders accountable for disruptive construction practices. 
Over the written objections from more than 500 Seattle residents and  18 Seattle area Legislators, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections has granted conditional approval of a major project noise variance application that will allow night time work. The application was aggressively driven by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The approved noise variance will allow WSDOT contractors to work all day and all night until 2023. While the prospect of 24/7 construction is daunting, hundreds of Seattle residents that raised objections get some measure of satisfaction knowing that SDCI conditionally granted the noise variance, and will conduct annual noise compliance evaluations. 
Following push-back from the public, SDCI will now require bridge builders to hire an independent noise monitor, install seven noise monitoring devices, and a telephone hotline to report excessive noise complaints. These actions are the result of sustaining neighborhood engagement with Legislators and city officials that will continue far into the future as the project draws to completion. Although we are volunteers, over many years we have become familiar with conditions and commitments in environmental and mitigation documents.  
We understand the importance of the bridge replacement, but not at the expense of public health and the environment. The City of Seattle’s efforts to mitigate construction noise is greatly appreciated, and we hope the City will act diligently and aggressively to uphold the interests of its residents from the conditional night time noise variance to permitting, inspections and reviews it conducts on this project going forward.  
We support WSDOT’s stated mission – “To improve mobility for people and goods across Lake Washington within the SR 520 corridor in a manner that is safe, reliable, and cost-effective, while mitigating impacts on affected neighborhoods and the environment.” Our communities want to do everything we can to help achieve this outcome as well.

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