In July, Broadway Housing Communities invited our neighbors to celebrate the groundbreaking of our newest project located in Sugar Hill at W. 155th St. and St. Nicholas Avenue. The Sugar Hill project will bring 124 units of affordable housing, an early childhood center and a children’s museum of art and storytelling to the neighborhood.
Since July, work has focused largely on excavation and drilling—by far the noisiest construction work there is. To break through the bedrock, the contractor has been using two CAT 345c machines with the largest hammers they make and a drill with a 6” drilling capacity. We realize that this equipment generates vibrations that can be challenging to live with—in some cases even more challenging than the noise that accompanies it.
Unfortunately, the bedrock we encountered was both more extensive and harder than expected, which means this very noisy work, and the accompanying vibrations it generates, is taking longer to complete than originally planned.
Since August 6, construction crews have been working double shifts—7am to midnight—under a special After Hours Work Variance Permit issued by the Department of Buildings (drilling, however, stops at 11pm). The double shift schedule was necessary to enable us to complete the project by December 31, 2013, as required by the low income housing tax credits and other financing.
The worst of the rock removal and excavation—and noise—is now over.
Machinery in use at the site has been downsized; there is now only one much smaller CAT on the site with a hammer half the size of the Cat 345c’s. The drill rig has also been downsized to a 3” drilling capacity.
Additional drilling/rock removal will be required for the elevator pit and 14 rock anchor bolt sockets. Though the remaining work will be noisy, we expect it will result in much lower levels of noise than what the neighborhood has been living with since August.
Starting Monday, September 24th, all drilling, excavation and the use of heavy machinery will end by 9pm.
Please note that workers may be performing other tasks such as refueling the equipment and securing the site and equipment beyond that time.
Both the Department of Buildings and the Department of Environmental Protection require very strict monitoring of the site including air quality, vibration, seismic monitoring and monitoring of noise levels. All tests and monitoring have shown that the work is being done within permitted tolerances. We realize, however, that even permitted levels can create hardship for those who live nearby.
We had originally hoped to complete this portion of the work by mid-September. In our last letter to the community, dated September 13, 2012, we predicted that excavation and drilling would continue for another three weeks.
Because the work day has been shortened to 9pm, our current estimate for completion of excavation and rock removal—the noisiest part of this project—is mid-October. Keep in mind that unforeseen conditions, including weather, could affect our ability to complete this phase of the project by that date.
There is no doubt that living near a construction site is disruptive and difficult. There will be other times during the course of construction when things will be very noisy (e.g. utility installation and sidewalk demolition) but excavation is the worst—and it’s almost over.
We are committed to keeping the community informed about this project and we welcome your questions and comments. We will continue to share updates with our local elected officials, community groups and our neighbors. You can also visit us at www.broadwayhousing.org for up-to-date information about what’s happening at Sugar Hill and to contact us with your questions and concerns.
Please contact Ana-Ofelia Rodriguez, Director of Community Development, at 212.568-2030 x 208 if you have any questions about this project. We look forward to sharing all that Sugar Hill has to offer with all our neighbors. Thank you for your patience—we hope it will be amply rewarded!
September 20, 2012