Flyover construction noise downplayed

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 12:03 30/05/2014

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Noise generated by construction of the Basin Reserve flyover may be annoying, but it won't be life-changing, an expert says.

Vincent Dravitzki told the flyover's board of inquiry hearing this morning that those living closest to the project's construction zone would be able to tolerate the noise, provided a good management plan was put in place.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is seeking resource consent from the board to build a two-lane highway flyover 20 metres north of the Basin Reserve.

Dravitzki told the board that most construction would not be any louder than five decibels above the level of noise that exists at the Basin now.

"The noise level is not going to be so large that they [nearby residents] will need to change, rapidly, how they're living."

If the agency knew a particular activity was going to exceed that 5 dB threshold then it would need to liaise with the community to find a solution that minimized disruption, he said.

Rescheduling the activity or temporarily relocating residents were examples of solutions.

The flyover's construction manager, Duncan Kenderdine, estimated earlier in the hearing that there would be about 181 occasions when construction would need to happen at night.

But he added that multiple activities may be able to happen on some evenings, meaning the disruption could be reduced to about 150 nights.

Dravitzki said today that not everyone living near the construction zone would be affected on all of those nights.

The flyover was 265 metres long and once someone was about 40 to 50 metres away from where construction was happening, the noise level dropped significantly, he said.

"There will be bursts of activity, then people will get ready for the next activity ... there will be ebbs and flows. It won't be continuous [noise] over that two-and-a-half-year period."

It was important that residents affected by noise were kept in the loop right throughout the construction period, not just when things were about to get a bit noisy, he said.

Board member David Collins asked whether people would react differently to hearing heavy machinery compared to the traffic noise that exists at the Basin now.

Dravitzki said that even though the decibel levels of both would be similar, residents would be able to tell them apart easily enough.

Their reaction would also be subjective to a degree. For instance, someone listening to construction of a flyover they do not support may find that sound more annoying than engines and sirens, which they have come to accept as part of living in the area.

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"Essentially, if you're not agreeing with a project or if you don't believe it has benefits for you then you might be less tolerant," Dravitzki said.

But equally, there were lots of occasions when people objected to major construction happening near their home only to find the noise was not as bad as they feared, he said.

- The Dominion Post

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