Last month the City of Seattle conditionally granted WSDOT’s noise variance for the Montlake Phase of SR 520 Construction. The Montlake Community Club has chosen not to appeal. The costs to mount a serious objection would be very high and it is unlikely that a serious challenge could be made within the 10 days we were allowed to appeal.
There are certain aspects of the Variance that are well done, among them:
- The Variance is based on a conditional approval with annual reviews
- The contractor will be required to update the Noise Management and Mitigation Plan upon award of the contract
- WSDOT, the contractor and the subcontractor will be responsible to implement and adhere to the Mitigation Plan
- The Administrator may modify the terms and conditions of the Variance or Mitigation Plan if needed to protect public health and safety
- The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspects will provide oversight of the night time work
- Independent noise monitoring outside the control of WSDOT
- Establishes the requirement of a complaint hotline
Other requirements get us back to part of the original intent of the Final Environmental Impact Statement.
There are a couple of things are less than perfect.
- WSDOT and the City of Seattle have failed to comply with federal requirements to provide a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement
- WSDOT has not adequately reviewed construction techniques that would mitigate the noise associated with the project.
- The cost/benefit analysis has not been adequately presented – health and real estate values costs versus construction costs should have had a more thorough review.
But at the end of the day, your emails, letters and phone calls made a difference. We do not believe the Variance would be as good without them. If you contacted Senator Jamie Pedersen, please thank him for his efforts. Without his (and others’) energy to obtain over 20 signatures of our Legislators to support our concerns, we don’t think our voices would be heard.