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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.