Things that go BOOM in the night: Pile-driving for U.S. 101 widening keeps neighbors awake
Maggie Wilkinson stands in her front yard, just a few yards away from the U.S. Highway 101 construction zone, background, where crews have been driving in pilings for a fish passage during the night. -- Photo by Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News
By Rob Ollikainen and Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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A state contractor is working nights driving sheet piling into the ground for a pedestrian underpass and fish barrier culvert at east Owl Creek near the busy Carlsborg intersection.
The noisy work — part of the state Department of Transportation’s widening of U.S. Highway 101 between Kitchen-Dick and Shore roads — is taking place overnight between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. until at least week’s end.
Maggie Wilkinson, whose house is a few dozen yards north of the highway, spent Wednesday and Thursday nights in a Sequim motel to get away from the loud “banging” noise.
“It’s unreal. There’s no way you could even hope to sleep,” Wilkinson said of the noise.
“And then they have those big, bright lights going to see what they’re doing. We had to get out.”
Project Manager Jerry Moore of the Department of Transportation said the work is being done at night to avoid impacts to the high volume of daytime traffic.
“They need to close a lane, and they can’t close a lane at day because it backs up traffic horrendously,” Moore said.
Scarsella Brothers Inc., the Kent-based contractor that received a $27.1 million construction contract last year, began driving the sheet piling Tuesday.
When the noise began Tuesday night, Wilkinson called the Sheriff’s Office and state highway officials.
She said they told her there was nothing they could do about the noise.
“If they would have told us before they started, it would have given us the chance to make arrangements,” she said.
“Instead, we just start hearing these slamming noises with no idea what’s going on.”
Moore said the contractor hopes to be finished by the end of this week.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he said.
“We thought it would go faster, but there’s harder ground down deep.”
Wilkinson and other neighbors said the noise is “ungodly loud.”
“It starts just before 9 at night and goes all the way until the sun comes up,” said Dave Golding, who said the nightly noise is loud even at his home on Parrish Road, less then a half-mile from the construction zone.
Crews broke ground Jan. 7 on the long-awaited project to widen the remaining two-lane stretch of highway between Port Angeles and Sequim.
Once completed late next year, eastbound and westbound traffic will be separated by a 32-foot median with two lanes in both directions.
Scarsella Brothers is building a new bridge over McDonald Creek that eventually will serve the eastbound lanes.
Both lanes will be routed onto the new bridge this fall, and the existing 1939 wooden trestle bridge will be knocked down and replaced by next summer.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: September 01. 2013 12:02PM