MDOT gets OK to work on I-96 projects at all hours, but residents complain of noise

By Lauren Podell - Reporter

LIVONIA, Mich. - People who live in Livonia and Redford Township tell Local 4 detours are not the only side effect of the Interstate 96 closure.

"It's all night, constant, non-stop," said Geoff Williams.

Williams and anyone else who lives along the project's corridor have a front row seat to the construction, especially the noise that comes with it.

View: Noise coming from I-96 project

"I had to sleep in my basement last night," Williams said. "My kids just kept saying, 'Dad make it stop,.' I am concerned about them because they didn't get any sleep and have to go to school." 

The project is only in its second day, but Williams said he's ready to leave his house in order to get some sleep.

"I am thinking about just taking my wife and kids to a hotel," he said.  

Last summer, the city of Livonia approved a noise ordinance waiver that was requested by the Michigan Department of Transportation. That waiver allows MDOT to work on the project 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- in order to meet its October deadline.

Download: I-96 area construction map

In other words, any type of work can take place any time of the day, including demolition. No restrictions. 

"If you want to see this freeway open by October, this project needs to be a 24/7 operation, and that means at night," said Jeff Horne, MDOT's transportation engineer. 

But MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi tells Local 4 that one of the main reasons why the 24/7 waiver was approved is because, when it comes time to lay new pavement on the freeway in the summer months, that work will need to take place and night in cooler temperatures. 

"We have a great working relationship with the cities involved," Horne said. "The goal is to get this project done and the freeway open as quickly as possible."

The city of Redford also approved a noise ordinance waiver, but theirs has a demolition restriction.

MDOT cannot demolish anything between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

But Brenda Cooper said, "Restrictions? What restrictions?"

"There were work crews out here at three this morning banging on the Garfield Road bridge," she said. "My entire house was rattling in the middle of the night. I didn't know what it was. I called the police and they said there was nothing they could do."

MDOT says they will need to work out the kinks with their contractors in Redford to make sure they are following the guidelines, but regardless of complaints, it's too late to make changes.

The six-month deadline means the metal crunching and cement pounding racket will go on.  

"We did noise studies prior to construction," said Horne. The freeway noise measured at 85 decibels, the construction noise came in at 79 decibels and we took those measures day and night." 

The timing of this project is based on the fact that Livonia allowed a 24/7 hour operation. City Council had an opportunity to make restrictions before contracts were signed. 

For the duration of the project, 37 bridges will be demolished and that demo work will go in phases, more than likely wrap up in August.

Download: Map of alternative routes

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