Neighbors raise concerns over late-night noise from demolition of Alaskan Way Viaduct

SEATTLE -- Andrew Konstantaras has called his Seattle apartment home for 19 years and the views of the Sound are nothing short of soothing. But the actual sound itself, coming from the traffic along the Alaskan Way Viaduct, that’s another story.

Andrew says he’s excited to see the viaduct come down to make way for a new surface street. But he’s concerned about exactly how and when that demolition will be taking place.

“I don’t mind reasonable noise, but what they are proposing is unreasonable and that is the reason we are opposing it,” says Andrew.

He says the fight is over a good night’s sleep and potential health concerns due to lack of sleep and being exposed to loud noises. He created the website, “SaveOurSleep.org” and says he got 175 people to sign his petition.

He’s appealing the Department of Transportation’s 12 month noise variance, granted by the city of Seattle, that includes overnight work.

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections tells us the noisy “impact” work will generally be allowed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays and holidays. That’s when you could hear repeated high spikes in sound levels, like jackhammers and impact hammers on excavators.

The city of Seattle says the noise will depend on the location and phase of the project and the noise levels will vary during those hours. The highest the variance permits allow during daytime demolition work is 90 decibels.

And at night, the work is permitted to continue, if the contractor chooses. WSDOT says that work is called “non-impact work” and, again, is based on the location and phase of the project. That includes excavation, equipment noise and loading of trucks. The city of Seattle says that will happen overnight between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. all week long and the noise level will vary, depending on where you live along the viaduct.

For people like Andrew on the north end, the noise variance permits up to 71 decibels overnight. And if you live along the mainline or the ramps, the noise variance permits up to 85 or 84 decibels, respectively.

“I think they can go to 7 p.m., I think that that’s reasonable. They can probably do some other stuff until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., but that’s it. Then we get to sleep and dust gets to settle. People get to stop vibrating, because it’s not just the noise; it’s the vibration and all the particulates in the air,” says Andrew.

WSDOT says ambient noise is factored into the total allowable noise and the contractor would be in violation of the variance if they exceed the approved noise levels. WSDOT also says working later hours will allow the contractor to complete the demolition faster and cites their online survey and open house back in August where they say people gave their feedback on demolition work.

WSDOT says out of 410 responses, 84% of people preferred having noisy work take place later at night, if it meant that the viaduct demolition would move faster.

Andrew says he is not one of those people.

“This is what people do to torture, you don’t get sleep because they play loud music loud 24 hours and they keep you up. For three months? That’s seems that seems excessive,” says Andrew.

He says he hopes WSDOT will hear his plea and sleep on it.

“They’re lucky that they can sleep on it and yea that’s what I’d like them to do,” says Andrew.

The city of Seattle says there will be a hearing sometime later this month. WSDOT says the contractor will be required to comply with the noise variance.

WSDOT says the contractor is also required to submit a noise mitigation plan as part of their proposal.

WSDOT says they will have more specific details after they have a contractor on board.