Freeway neighbors not happy with late night construction

Residents in North Carson City should be able to sleep a little easier.

Some residents have complained that noisy construction work and glaring lights - at midnight, 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. - have been ruining their nights.

Now, though, officials from Frehner Construction say they have no more plans to start work on the freeway before 7 a.m.

Ralph Kellogg, Frehner project superintendent for the Carson City freeway, said he has heard the complaints from area residents, but the company hasn't worked in the freeway corridor earlier than 7 a.m. in the past two weeks.

Construction is under way on the freeway's Phase 1A bridges on Arrowhead Drive, Northgate and Emerson lanes and College Parkway and some freeway drainage along the 3.8-mile freeway corridor.

Residents say they have been disturbed in recent weeks by working hours as early as midnight and 2 a.m., a constant glare of floodlights, and the steady drone from generators.

Kellogg said until two weeks ago, the construction company had been pouring concrete in the bridge areas starting at 4 a.m., as was required by project specifications. Earlier in the summer there had been some nighttime work as well, he said.

Construction generally wraps up at 3:30 p.m., with everyone off the site between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., he said.

"Something may be going on out there, but it is unrelated," Kellogg said. "We've heard the complaints and, short of me camping out on site, we're doing everything to find out (what is happening). I just happen to know we're not paying any people to work at night. We have not been aware of any activity on our site at night."

However, several residents along Boulder Drive said there has been night-time work.

Like many of the houses in their neighborhood, the Roberson home is separated from the freeway corridor only by a chain link fence.

Erika Roberson said when her family moved into the neighborhood six years ago, construction of the freeway was a joke. Nobody thought it would ever get built, she said. That it is being built is fine, she said - she's just tired of the constant construction.

"I understand they've got a lot to do before winter sets in. During the day, it's the trucks going by, guys yelling. I don't mind that," Erika Roberson said. "The thing that is bothering me the most is the all-night construction.

"They think this thing is going through a big, empty field and they're not bothering anybody. Well, they're wrong. It is flat rude to be doing this at night. How would these construction people feel if they went home at nights and their kids couldn't sleep? This entire area is getting frustrated."

Several of their neighbors said they understand the need for the freeway's construction but not in the wee hours of the morning.

"We need the whole bypass big-time. We knew this was going to happen, and we're still here," said resident Paula Darragh. "I just think they need to be a little more realistic with the people who live here. Six or 7 in the morning isn't too bad; 3 or 4 is a little bit much."

Chelsea Henry, also a Boulder Drive resident, said late construction work has tapered off, recently but "loud and obnoxious" generators running through the night don't improve the situation.

Kellogg said the noise from the few generators on site are under the maximum 55 decibels.

Henry also cited enormous amounts of dust, frequent loss of utility service and construction on College Parkway as added irritants that have changed the quality of life for area residents.

"A few of us will suffer for the benefit of many," Henry said. "Never once has anyone said, 'You may be stuck in the shower with shampoo in you hair but there will be no water. Sorry.' Our little neighborhood has suffered and will continue to suffer."

The city has no noise ordinances for construction, so residents' only appeal would be to file a complaint with the sheriff's office. City officials are working on noise rules for the city's master plan, but they would control noise as an issue in zoning and placement, said Juan Guzman, senior planner with the Community Development Department. The rules should be ready for public review in November. Ordinances regulating noise could eventually stem from that master plan.


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