Due to a procedural technicality, WSDOT has to resubmit its Noise Variance application for night time noise during the Montlake Phase of 520 Construction. The public comments period is only open until February 20th. We need to tell WSDOT that the variance is NOT acceptable at a public meeting on Feb 15. and by submitting comments online. See all the details from WSDOT below, as well as a statement from the Montlake Community Club.
On Jan. 17, 2018, WSDOT resubmitted the Montlake Phase noise variance application to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI). WSDOT resubmitted the application to provide more accurate public notice based on the location of known nighttime construction and staging areas. The technical analysis in the application has not changed. SDCI has now published the resubmitted application on its website, and has launched a new comment period for the application, Jan. 25 – Feb. 20.
How to comment on WSDOT’s nighttime noise variance application
The Montlake Phase nighttime noise variance application is available on SDCI’s Land Use Information Bulletin (Project #3030792). Comments can be submitted via the following ways between Jan. 25 and Feb. 20:
- Mail:SDCI, PRC, P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019 (please reference project # 3030792)
- Email:firstname.lastname@example.org (please include project #3030792 in the subject line)
- In person:
FROM THE MCC TRANSPORTATION CHAIR:
The importance of attending the SR 520 meeting concerning the revised WSDOT noise variance cannot be over stated. WSDOT’s revised application for the noise variance marginalizes health impacts to people living in this densely populated area of Montlake, Laurelhurst, Madison Park, Portage Bay, Roanoke and North Capitol Hill. We have asked that threats to public health from night time construction of the SR520 bridge replacements deserve more review before the variance is granted.
The WSDOT noise variance presents an interesting moral question. Is it morally justifiable to subject the population living adjacent to SR 520 construction project to the discomfort, psychologic stress, cognitive impairment as well as the effects of hypertension including myocardial infraction, stroke, and death in order to advance a project more readily? And for a period of ten years.
In opposition to WSDOT’s first night time noise variance, more than 250 emails from impacted neighbors, and a letter undersigned by the Seattle delegation to the Washington State Legislature did not prevent the City of Seattle under the Murray administration from granting a night time noise variance for the SR520 Montlake phase.
Our requests to the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) were ignored. We asked SDCI to grant a noise variance for no more than 6 months at a time, and no more than 12 hours a day with no night time work, including heavy equipment use and trucks hauling material to and from construction sites. SDCI is now poised to approve the night time noise variance for up to five years.
No analysis was provided for WSDOT’s claim that it is imperative to have construction work during night time hours. We asked that WSDOT’s noise variance be held to Seattle Municipal Code, Chapter 25.08 – NOISE CONTROL – “Exterior sound level limits not to exceed 45 decibels (dB) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. during weekdays, and between the hours of 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends and legal holidays.”
We request any noise variance include a table of acceptable decibel limits no higher than 55dB for demolition, construction and noise from construction vehicles. The negative effects of noise, especially at night, have an even greater impact upon children and seniors. The approved WSDOT/SR520 noise variance allows noise levels as high as 80dB — because of the way decibel scales work, this is over 15X times higher than the 40dB nighttime limit per WHO standards.
Solid scientific study demonstrates the noise residents adjacent to SR 520 will be subject to elevation of blood pressure and heart rate as a result of the release of “fight and flight” catecholamine hormones and endogenous steroids. Data cited by the World Health Organization document that these stress induced reactions are associated with an excess of stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiac death.
The winning contractor will have submitted a ‘minimum bid’ to the RFP in the design build process. According to the revised WSDOT application, the contractor will provide a “Noise Management and Mitigation Plan” to WSDOT for their approval. The minimum bid will surely result in a minimum level of effort for noise mitigation.