Dawson Bridge Watch™: the noisy River Valley

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Work on the Dawson Bridge continues this month. And most recently the big news story is the fact that the project was granted a noise waiver — crews are working almost around the clock to ensure the bridge will open on November 26, 2010.

(As an aside, I’m hopeful they hit their target so I have a local watering hole I can hop and skip to. It’s called the Hilltop Pub.)

Given that I live three blocks away from the bridge myself, I have to note my own surprise at how late into the night these guys are working. I wouldn’t say it’s been disruptive to me, since I’ve learned to be able to sleep through everything — including those magpie jerks that insist on making a whole pile of noise first thing in the morning — but the noise is definitely noticeable, perhaps even more so because the River Valley is usually an exceedingly quiet place. This is, of course, with the exception of emergency vehicle sirens, but there’s a reason those things are really loud. Someone ought to point that out to Councillor Jane Batty.


Anyway, here’s what at least one Riverdale resident thinks about the noise waiver granted to the Dawson Bridge project:

Brenda Bolton, who lives on 87th Street, three houses down from the bridge, said she bought a noisy, second-hand fan to run at night in an attempt to drown out the construction noise.

“It doesn’t, but it was a good plan though,” she said, laughing. Bolton said she wouldn’t mind so much if she could sleep in on weekends to make up for the shut-eye she loses during the week.

“You would think they would have a little decency because you don’t sleep all week, but at 6 o’clock in the morning, they are out there pounding and blasting. I don’t know what the hell they are doing,” she said.

— From “All-night racket on Edmonton’s Dawson Bridge outrages Riverdale neighbour” in the Edmonton Journal, June 11, 2010, by Florence Loyie.

I’m not convinced this is an issue of common decency. It’s a tough balance between not disrupting those residence with noise, and not disrupting residence with the inconvenience of a very busy bridge being out of a commission for a whole year. Having said that, though, this comment at the end of the Journal story really caught my attention:

What has not been recognized is that the City of Edmonton held a presentation to the community of Riverdale one year ago promising that they can do the work on the bridge without being issued a NOISE WAIVER from the City! They (the City) indicated that the work can be done without having to work through the night! If nothing happens from this article, then everyone should get ear plugs including City Council and all of the people who complain about motorcycles and any other type of noise, traffic, buses, kids, schools, parties. Here is a suggestion get rid of the noise bylaw all together. I strongly support Barb and anyone else who holds the City of Edmonton accountable. She is not complaining that the bridge work – everyone wants the bridge work completed- she is complaining about how City Council are hypocrites. Pay attention to the story!

— Comment by “Greenthumbs” at 12:00PM on June 11, 2010.

If what this commenter says is true, then the city said they wouldn’t need to be working nearly around the clock to get the work done. I cannot say whether or not this is accurate, since I didn’t attend the presentation at the Riverdale community hall, but if this claim is true, it means two things:

  1. The City apparently didn’t keep its word
  2. If #1 is true, then the City probably needed to break its word in order to ensure the project would be completed on time.

This is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations. If the project wasn’t issued a noise waiver, it might not be completed on time and then citizens — from many different neighbourhoods, not just Riverdale — would be complaining about the fact that the city didn’t open the bridge on time.

Look, I get it. It’s disruptive and annoying. But I think this Journal commenter sums it up rather nicely:

Wow, its construction work, it noisy, theres no way around it. Sure they could have them work on it during the day only but how happy will everyone be when they tell you the bridge will be closed for 2+ years instead of one. Sometimes we have to put up with a little so a change can get through that helps alot more people. I lived near 137 ave and the lrt tracks when they built the bridges there, every morning 6 am they started pounding beams into the ground, i worked till midnight, so very little sleep but i knew it had to be done. Deal with it instead of being outraged.

— Comment by “Happypop” at 12:47PM on June 11, 2010 (emphasis mine).

It sucks that there’s noise into the wee hours of the morning. But it also sucks that no one can currently use the Dawson bridge.

Only 5.5 months to go!

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3 Responses to “Dawson Bridge Watch™: the noisy River Valley”

  1. Jeff
    June 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    This is the only place I go to for Dawson Bridge news.

    The noise waiver promise is probably worth a follow at City Hall, but you’re right that no matter which way that turns out the project is damned both ways. People hate noise but they also hate bridges being closed forever.

    • Adam Rozenhart
      June 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

      I think the large majority of city employees are passionate about Edmonton. You’d have to be to deal with the constant aggravation of, well, aggravated citizens…

      I’m confident that the people working on the Dawson Bridge weighed their options and decided a noise waiver was necessary to balance the issues around timelines. It’s a headache, but a necessary and reasonable one.


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