Constructionnoise to be ‘as loud as a blender’

Published on Thu, Jun 14, 2007 by ara Nelson

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Construction noise to be ‘as loud as a blender’

By Tara Nelson

Residents along State Route 543 may have to endure 24-hour construction noise as loud as a close-up blender beginning this Thursday, state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials said.

In a regular meeting of the Blaine City Council Monday, DOT project engineer Chris Damitio requested a noise variance that would allow construction crews to begin sawing 3-inch deep joints in H Street and SR 543, often referred to as Blaine’s truck route. Damitio said the cuts are necessary to prevent pavement failures, or unwanted cracks that would need early repairs.

“It’s a rigid pavement, and it wants to expand and contract and crack,” he said. “So what we want to do is put those joints in there at the right time at the right location so it cracks where we want it to. And if we do it right, we’ll have a very long lasting piece of pavement.”

The pavement and sawing will begin on H Street continue for about 13 working days beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday. Damitio said one quadrant of H Street will take about two nights, followed by additional nights of paving on the northbound truck lane, followed by about a month break.

Overall, he said crews could be expected to pave about 19 feet of concrete pavement per night, adding to a total estimate of 30 nights.

Councilmember Bonnie Onyon asked if it was possible to schedule the paving so the sawing, which produces the most noise, could be completed during business hours.

Damitio said while that would be an optimal situation, the variations in temperature and the conditions of the pavement are too unpredictable.
“I don’t want to sit here and give you the hope that we can do that,” he said. “If we got a colder day or a more humid day, the pavement we put down at 9 a.m. might not be ready until midnight.

“And then you factor in the noise ordinance and we’re looking at about a two-hour window and instead of 30 days of paving, you might have 100 days of paving.”

Maria Laura Musso-Escude, an acoustics specialist with the DOT said officials would try to implement the best noise mitigation tools possible.

Musso-Escude, however, said the worst-case scenario could be “quite noisy.”

“It would be as loud as having a blender three feet next to you,” she said. “But we don’t want to come back in five years and have to do this over again.”

Damitio said the noise complaint line is 800/569-0834.