Construction noise a neighbourhood pain

CONSTRUCTION on the massive Low Level Road project, as bleary-eyed neighbours can tell you, is well underway.

The racket from the machinery echoing off the Richardson grain terminal has been "obnoxiously loud," at all hours, according to First Street resident Amanda Nichol.

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The port's contractor has been given the OK by the City of North Vancouver to work from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. until Aug. 2, in order to move utilities across East Esplanade, drawing complaints from Alder Street and St. Patricks Avenue residents.

"We've asked the city in the interest of the business and traffic impacts in the day to the community. The best time to do this work is in the evening. Then, it doesn't impact the businesses and it doesn't impact the traffic," said Justin Pedley, the port's director of trade areas. "However, the negative is, it does impact some of the residents, so it is a trade-off but we feel the best time to do it is between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m."

Thankfully, the worst will soon be over as that portion of the work is nearly done and crews will be moving west into the business district, Pedley added.

"We're hopeful that the noise and inconvenience we've caused to that community will be reduced significantly over the next little while. But it's necessary work that has to be done and it has to be done first before the rest of the road can be built," he said.

Port Metro Vancouver is planning to complete the project in seven phases, including moving existing utilities infrastructure, digging down and then rebuilding a new series of retaining walls at two levels, and moving the existing road north to make way for more rail lines on the industrial land.

Residents on the 500 and 600 blocks of East First Street, meanwhile, have lost access to the lane on the south side of their properties as

B&B Heavy Civil Construction works on the first tier of the new retaining wall. While the Low Level Road expansion has been a "constant headache" for the beleaguered Moodyville residents, contending with the retaining wall work and B&B have been surprisingly low stress, according to First Street resident Michael Binkley.

Binkley said work crews have been keeping the lane tidy and they're usually off the work site by 4 p.m.

Pedley expects that work to be done by the end of July and nearly identical work on Alder Street is set to begin shortly.

Traffic on Low Level Road and the surrounding area has experienced some minor inconvenience as contractors manoeuvre and place heavy equipment, but that has only amounted to brief lane closures, Pedley said. Port Metro Vancouver has committed to keeping Low Level Road open throughout the project, other than for two weekends in the fall and winter when the port will shut the road down to install beams that support new overpasses, which will replace the existing at-grade crossings onto port land.

The Low Level Road project won approval from City of North Vancouver council last year and has been marred by controversy as expansion of the industrial land creates conflicts with the adjacent residential neighbourhood.

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