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Nighttime LRT construction derails east-end residents’ sleep

Residents of an Orléans neighbourhood are voicing their frustration as overnight work on Stage 2 LRT causes disturbances for those living next to the construction site.

The project includes the expansion of the Jeanne d’Arc Boulevard overpass along highway 174, construction of a train station, and an OC Transpo bus parking station. It has led to complaints of loud noise, shaking houses, and bright lights beaming in through windows at night.

“I think it’s a lot of noise that’s unnecessary. Most of the time, during the day, they have maybe one or two workers there,” says Dave McCarthy, whose backyard fronts the construction project. “Right after supper, at six o’clock, the big light standards come up and then the tractors come out and it’s just very, very loud. It sounds like an earthquake. All the dishes are shaking in the China cabinet. Everything you can just see, everything’s moving.”

Making matters worse, McCarthy says, the construction lights used throughout the night illuminate many homes along Jeanne d’Arc Boulevard and across the street to others as well.

“I went up there at 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. the other day to complain and they said that’s what they have to do,” he says. “If this was me or any of our other neighbors doing it we would get a ticket.”

Just a few houses down, Judy Cheeseman is faced with similar issues, the noise as well as the light, which shines into her en suite bathroom.

“And it seems to get louder at midnight through to 1, 2, 3 a.m. The house shakes, the light shines,” she says. “I called bylaw on Tuesday night and an officer came out to the house. He was very nice and pleasant and he said he needed to measure the noise, and then he said they [the construction contractor] had an extension and is good to the end of May.”

In a statement to CTV News, the city of Ottawa says it is working closely with contractors to plan construction activities to minimize the disruptions for those nearby.

“At times, work must be completed overnight in order to manage the impact to traffic, maintain project schedule and/or coordinate complex activities. When overnight work is required, a noise bylaw exemption is needed to proceed with the work. The ability to leverage night work, while respecting the neighbourhoods where the project team is working, is a key tool to advance the project.”

Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services (BLRS) added it has issued a noise exemption permit for this construction project, and that construction noise cannot exceed 85 decibels when measure at the point of reception.

“To minimize the impact on residents, the contractor has agreed to implement broadband backup alarms for all movable equipment, and no box shaking/tailgate slamming permitted along this alignment. Should the noise be bothersome, BLRS encourages residents to create a request for service by calling 3-1-1, in order for an officer to investigate.”

Khadija Siddiqi, who also backs on to the construction site, says the midnight work is having a severe impact on her son, who has special needs.

“Unfortunately my son’s room is in the back and we have two blackout curtains on the window, but it’s still bright in his room and his bed is shaking. He’s been up the last week up till 2 a.m., and he goes to school in the morning. It’s really, really hard for him,” says Siddiqi. “It is absolutely unacceptable. We understand that this is needed for our community, but they can absolutely do a better job of finishing the work sooner and not disrupt everybody’s sleep at night. They can’t say that that it’s because of the traffic during the day. They have their own space where they are working so they could be working during the day.”

As the construction continues, many in the neighbourhood worry Ottawa’s brief summer season of warm weather, backyard barbeques and evening swims will be destroyed.

“They could do a better concentrated effort of having some areas done with lots of people,” says McCarthy. “Knowing the city, they’re going to be a couple more years and they also plan to build a roundabout in here too, so that’s just going to be more stuff. It’s just crazy.”

The Jeanne d’Arc overpass construction project is slated to run until spring 2025.

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