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Relief from repaving finally arrives
The repaving of Sixth Street is complete but not without one final noisy night.
Crews completed overnight paving last Tuesday night, finishing off the laying down of a smooth asphalt surface between Sixth and Queens avenues. Some residents, however, lost sleep that night because of the noise. They should be feeling some relief by now because the city says no more night work is anticipated.
The project became necessary after the city dug up the street in 2011 to replace water mains and other infrastructure. The city decided to repave at night over a three-week span instead of doing it during the day, which would have taken seven weeks.
City officials said working overnight also minimized the disruption for commercial businesses along Sixth Street, which had complained last year of delays and detours causing inconvenience for their customers, employees and owners.
On the first night of the repaving the contractors used jackhammers after 11 p.m., and had vehicles that beeped when backing up. The city put a halt to both processes because they were not allowed in the project’s contract with the city.
Although the city said it wouldn’t happen again, area resident Cheryl Robbins, who lives on the top floor of a nearby highrise, said the jackhammering could be heard loud and clear on the final night (July 3) well after midnight.
“At night there’s no other odd noises to soften the sounds. During the day the noise can get eaten away by traffic and other noises. At night the intensity of those sounds are even greater,” said Robbins. “Everybody is so stressed to make ends meet they need the rest over the night.”
Steve Day, a project technologist in the city’s engineering department, said the contractor did jackhammer late at night during the final shift to raise valve covers.
“They had hoped to get that portion of the work completed by midnight but it did go into the early hours,” wrote Day in an email to the NewsLeader. “They couldn’t raise the water valve covers in advance like they did with the sewer manhole covers because of their small size ... The night of [July 3] was the last night of noise-related construction, and while we understand that the noise was intrusive to the neighbourhood, the safety-related issues that would have been present had the work been carried out during the daytime made night work the best option.”
Roger Emanuels, the city’s infrastructure manager, said he was impressed the contractors were able to finish the paving so quickly after the long weekend. All that remained afterward was the finishing touches such as lining the road and crosswalks.
“Most of the residents have been pretty accommodating and they were happy we got out of there as quick as we did,” said Emanuels.
Robbins, however, felt the city shouldn’t have made an exception to its night noise bylaws.
“I just feel like there’s no consistency. Especially in the Uptown area where there’s high rise living, this impacts on a lot of people,” said Robbins. “There are so many shades of grey. Why do we set rules if there are so many shades of grey around it?”
She questioned whether the city will be able to say no the next time a contractor asks for a similar concession.