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Sleepless in Brooklyn: Residents say noisy Bridge construction has gone on for too long

Sleepless in Brooklyn: Residents say noisy Bridge construction has gone on for too long
NOISE FROM BELOW: Roberto Gautier looks down on the entrance ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge, where he says construction that has gone on for too long is keeping him awake at night.
Photo by Jason Speakman

It is a bridge below troubled nights’ sleep.

That is the complaint of residents living beside the Brooklyn Bridge on Cadman Plaza and in Concord Village, who say the city is taking way too long to get the job done, and killing them in the process.

“Noise is not something to sneeze at,” said Roberto Gautier, who lives on the 23rd floor of a Cadman Plaza West building that overlooks the bridge’s entrance. “It affects your health when you’re submitted to sleep deprivation.”

The Department of Transportation filed an extension for the project — which is repairing worn entrance and exit ramps, repaving the bridge, and painting of the entire 131-year-old span — that has taken four years so far and was originally scheduled to finish last month. The extension gives the agency until April 2015 to complete the work, but honchos at the road-making body say it will try to have most of it done by the end of this year. The city blames poor weather — especially this past winter — for the delays to the work that runs overnight or on the weekend to minimize traffic disruption, but neighbors the city has had plenty of time to finish the job.

Gautier claimed he has had his sleep disrupted for four years now and he tries to cancel out the construction noise with fans, but nothing seems to work.

“It’s become clear that this area is a vortex of traffic, noise, and pollution,” Gautier said.

A spokesman for the Department of Transportation said the agency is doing everything it can to help the situation, including buying new equipment, using smaller jackhammers, and covering work areas with sound-absorbing blankets every night. Sound levels are also measured every night there is construction and the noise produced doesn’t surpass legal limits, the rep said.

“The work remains in compliance with the DEP Noise Code and every effort has been made to provide the maximum protection from undesirable construction noise,” the spokesman said. “We continue to work closely with DEP to address noise concerns and look for additional opportunities to minimize the impact of this critical bridge rehabilitation project.”

But ruffled residents insist the agency worries more about keeping cars moving than people sleeping.

“The primary concern is traffic,” said Leslie Boyce, who lives in the same building as Gautier. “To hell with everyone else.”

The city admits that traffic is an important consideration, but said it is doing what it can to get these neighbors some rest.

“Work was shifted as much as possible to daytime hours on weekdays and weekends to expedite the project,” a transportation spokesman said. “But full closures of the bridge during daytime weekday hours would displace 100,000 vehicles onto Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn streets.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.

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