Demolition keeps residents awake
A bridge demolition that is part of the Capital Beltway High Occupancy Toll lanes project has led to sleepless nights for one Dunn Loring neighborhood.
Crews recently began taking apart the Interstate 66 westbound bridge over the Beltway. On Sunday, they began work on a portion of the bridge where the Beltway backs up to a community of about 50 houses in Dunn Loring.
John Eltzroth's house is about 1,000 feet from the intersection of the Beltway and I-66 at the heart of the bridge demolition. He crawled into bed around 11 p.m. Sunday only to hear the construction, which rattled his windows.
"What it sounds like is you've got 15 or 20 artillery units in your back yard," he said.
He waited an hour for the noise to pass. Then another hour went by. And another.
Unable to sleep, Eltzroth finally got out of bed at 2:45 a.m. and called Fairfax County police, who told him that the the project had a noise variance from the county. He then called the Virginia Department of Transportation and fired off e-mails to local elected officials.
Steve Titunik, spokesman for the HOT Lanes project, said the noise is coming from the bridge being taken apart.
"I think what they're hearing now is some of the concrete being taken off the steel and that makes some noise there," he said.
Titunik said that project officials went door to door in the neighborhood and called residents to notify them of the bridge work. Eltzroth said he did not receive any notification.
Ultimately, Titunik said the bridge is being demolished overnight so that the work does not get in the way of traffic.
"You either do it during the day and interrupt traffic, or do it during the night and interupt people's sleep," he said. "You can't win. The work's got to get done."
This portion of the bridge demolition should pass the neighborhood by Wednesday morning, officials said.
As for Eltzroth, he has been coping with the lack of sleep by drinking more cups of coffee.
"I think I'm on my fifth right now," he said.
Were you affected by the demolition? Post a comment below.
Kafia A. Hosh
| December 7, 2010; 3:55 PM ET
Categories: Capital Beltway, Construction, Highways, Northern Virginia, Virginia
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