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Posted at 3:55 PM ET, 12/ 7/2010

Demolition keeps residents awake

By Kafia A. Hosh
Kafia Hosh

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.

By Kafia A. Hosh  | December 7, 2010; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  Capital Beltway, Construction, Highways, Northern Virginia, Virginia  
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While I sympathize with people being kept awake at night, I think that's part of the risk that comes with living in a neighborhood located close to a major highway. It's similar to the reason why, for example, I would never buy a house that fronts on a major road--I wouldn't want to take the risk of losing a portion of my property if the road is ever widened.

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 7, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

How about the milling / repaving on University and Georgia Avenue? It's been going on for since early November! It's a high pitched whine like you hear in a dentist office, followed by jack hammering - all through the night.
We don't live on the either of those roads; in fact, we live approx. 1 mile off of each road.
When we attempted to obtain a timetable for the completion date, we got bounced around the Maryland State Dept of Transportation five different ways. The last person promised to obtain an estimated completion date and call us back. Never heard from again.
Next time I might just buy a nice looking, solid built, inexpensive home on the rail. Really couldn't be any worse.

Posted by: frustrated2 | December 8, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

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