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May 4, 2012 / Brooklyn news / DUMBO / Brooklyn Is Angry

Neighbors: Brooklyn Bridge construction is extremely loud, incredibly late

The Brooklyn Paper

One of the most famous landmarks in the city that never sleeps is making sure its neighbors take that phrase literally, according to groggy Brooklynites angry about late-night construction on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Noisy drilling at the base of the historic span begins at midnight and usually lasts until around 4 am, keeping residents on Cadman Plaza West awake until the sun rises, according to sleep-deprived neighbor Dan Lee.

“It’s been hell,” said Lee. “We’re completely at their mercy.”

He and other residents want the city to start any noisy construction work earlier and end it by midnight — but the city says it must burn the midnight oil to avoid impeding the flow of traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge as it undergoes a major renovation.

The drilling comes after engineering inspectors ranked the bridge as “poor” in a condition report, prompting a fix-up that will give the legendary viaduct new ramps, approaches, and decking.

But it comes at a cost: it’s been driving neighbors nuts for weeks, causing some of them to leave town, and even sleep in the bathroom, some said.

And the noisy phase of the project is expected to last through the summer.

Late-night construction is allowed in the event that daytime work “would result in unreasonable delay or increased expenditure for a necessary public improvement,” according to city noise code.

In this case, the city has obtained permits to drill between 11 pm and 6 am.

“We aren’t allowed to start any earlier than that,” Sabrina Lau, the project’s liaison, wrote in an e-mail to a neighbor.

She later told this newspaper she’s aware that noise is impacting residents — but declined to comment further.

The Department of Transportation, which is heading the project, said closing the bridge during the day would displace tens of thousands of motorists into DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights — slowing traffic to a crawl.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

ansel from bklyn says:
Staged photos work 14% of the time. This paper uses them 85% of the time.
May 4, 2012, 11:22 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Marty Markowitz stopped by on his way to his MENSA meeting and told them to hammer quietly!
May 5, 2012, 8:28 am
Mat from Marine Park says:
How does anyone move into an area like that and expect peace and quiet and family life EVER?
May 5, 2012, 11:46 pm
Mat from Marine Park says:
How does anyone move into an area like that and expect peace and quiet and family life EVER?
May 5, 2012, 11:46 pm
Mat from Marine Park says:
How does anyone move into an area like that and expect peace and quiet and family life EVER?
May 5, 2012, 11:46 pm
Pete from Prospect Heights says:
Welcome to living near the Barclays Arena!

No developer or the government agency should have the right to deprive someone the expected use of their property or rental without just compensation, and that includes the right to get some sleep! This is happening all over Brooklyn, and there should be a movement started against it. And yeah, Matt from Marine Park, they're coming your way, too, so get on the bus! Unless you're one of the paid gov't stooges trolling these boards to defuse discussions!
May 7, 2012, 2:53 pm
Roberto Gautier from Brooklyn Heights says:
I am one of the perpetually sleep-deprived residents of Cadman Plaza West who is serenaded daily by nocturnal jackhammering, demolition work, construction vehicles and piercing back up alarms. This all comes as a result of the nightly work shift that is "rehabilitating" the Brooklyn Bridge. At the end of the process in 2014, the Bridge will be fine and the people who live near the Bridge will probably not be so fine. Sleep deprivation is unhealthy. If it lasts for years, there will certainly be negative effects. Skanska, the contractor is tagging the price for the Bridge work at over a half billion dollars and the city and federal officials overseeing the project seem to be okay with sacrificing thousands of Manhattan and Brooklyn residents to the god of progress. Happily, there is a movement afoot to find a middle ground, particularly for people like myself see the need for a safe Bridge as well as for a good night's sleep.
June 9, 2012, 12:35 am
ED from Dumbo says:
Well now its June 2013. Its still going on! I'm in the 70 Washington Building. That backup beeping alarm is the biggest problem. Pure torture! They can't at least fix that! Is it really acting as a safety device?? - I doubt it.

What a travesty!
June 10, 2013, 11:01 am

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