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|Pile Driving on Freeway Could Be a Headache|
|Thursday, 10 January 2013 16:07|
PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES
The Nimitz Freeway will be widened once again, bringing more prosperity, progress and pollution to San Leandro.
By Amy Sylvestri
San Leandro Times
If you live near Marina Boulevard or Davis Street, you may need to get ready for some noisy nights this spring – the I-880 widening and overpass reconstruction will lead to at least eight nights of loud pile-driving.
At Monday night’s meeting, the City Council heard an update from the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) and Caltrans about the I-880 project.
The project will add a 3-mile High Occupancy Vehicle (carpool) lane between Hegenberger Road in Oakland and Marina Boulevard in San Leandro. The construction has an estimated $83 million budget from state, county, and federal funds,
The widening of the freeway will also mean that two new, higher overpasses will be built and new sound walls will also be constructed. The project will be built in two stages — one section from Hegenberger to Davis Street, then from Davis Street to Marina Boulevard.
Construction is scheduled to begin later this month and the project is scheduled to be complete in 2016.
The project has been in the works for several years and the City Council update consisted mostly of logistical questions about detours and lane closures, until ACTC project manager Gary Sidhu mentioned when the pile driving for the overpasses would begin.
Because of potential traffic delays, the pile-driving will be done from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in two separate four-night sessions and the first is scheduled in April near Marina Boulevard.
“Isn’t that going to keep every single neighbor awake?” asked Councilwoman Diana Prola.
City of San Leandro engineering and transportation director Uche Udemezue said his team has been considering the problem for some time, but the noise is unavoidable.
“We are just as concerned as you are,” said Udemezue. “We all recognize that we can’t avoid it, so the question is, how do you mitigate it?”
ACTC has offered hotel vouchers to people affected by noisy construction in the past and they are looking into it for this project as well, said Sidhu.
Councilman Jim Prola represents the district where the construction is taking place and encouraged ACTC and Caltrans to consider moving the construction to the weekend despite traffic problems.
“I’ll invite you to come to my house during that (pile-driving) time,” Prola told Sidhu. “I’m sure I’ll be getting plenty of phone calls. It’s unrealistic to think you can do that and not disturb somebody’s sleep.”
Councilman Benny Lee, in his first meeting as a council member, compared the potential noise from the pile-driving to the loud music from a concert at the Coliseum last October that drew dozens of 911 calls from irate citizens.
Public speaker Wafaa Aborashed of the Davis West Neighborhood Group was also worried about the noise.
“My blood pressure really went high as soon as I heard about all this noise,” said Aborashed, who added her neighborhood already experiences lots of noise from the Oakland Airport. “I’m really concerned with quality of life for my community.”
Mayor Stephen Cassidy then asked ACTC and Caltrans to hold at least two more rounds of public meetings to inform citizens and see if a better solution can be found.
ACTC already has scheduled two meetings on the HOV project for Wednesday, Jan. 16: the first at an office complex at 14709 Catalina Street from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and another at Wilson Elementary School at 1300 Williams Street from 6 to 8 p.m.