West Diamond Leaders post Go Transit update on hookavepiledrivers mailing list

The following text report was psoted to the hookavepiledrivers mailing list and commented to another post on this blog… it’s a great update of a good success, and provides a good current overview.

This is an update on negotiations with GO Transit on behalf of the community affected by noise and vibration from the West Toronto Diamond grade separation project.

A small group met with GO last Tuesday (Apr 28 2009).  GO reported that they are investigating the following:

– the use of vibratory hammers (*see explanation below) for the first 80 per cent of every pile, using diesel hammer pile drivers only for the final 20 per cent of the necessary depth.  This should result in a significant noise reduction.
– shrouds and noise barriers, sand bags to reduce noise
– Use of augers rather than pile drivers for the third (inner) line of piles.  (The project includes three lines or rows of piles to be driven in parallel.) This would significantly reduce the duration of piledriving noise and vibration.

While the efforts are appreciated and applauded, there was no commitment by GO to a date by which these measures would be employed or even an assurance that they would be employed at all.

For that reason, your representatives has asked GO to commit to ceasing diesel hammer piledriving by May 8 — stopping construction — until the vibratory hammers can be put in place.

The group also asked for a meeting two weeks after the resumption of construction in order to provide community feedback on whether the noise and vibrtation have been reduced to tolerable levels.  Regular follow up meetings are also requested.

If GO is unable to meet these terms, the group indicated it will immediately take the matter forward to the Canadian Transportation Agency for informal mediation.  If GO does not agree to informal mediation, a formal complaint — which they will have to answer — can be made.

In addition, GO was asked for assurances that natural landscaping would be put in place after the project is completed and asked to consider playground improvements for affected schools as a gesture of good will toward the community.

Finally, the community should be aware that GO has expressed an interest in extending the hours of work past 4 p.m. and perhaps even into weekends in order to complete work as soon as possible.  They believe the community would welcome a reduction in the duration of the work even if it means longer hours of work each day until completion.  Your representatives did not agree but said the community would be polled on that issue after the noise reduction measures are in place.  GO did say that, in any circumstance, diesel hammers would be restricted to 7:30 to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Although it was not part of the negotiation meeting, at this writing, a GO representative has indicated that interns will be hired to visit affected homes to document issues, concerns and damages.  As well, it’s been suggested that a daytime respite centre might be established for senior citizens.

*vibratory hammers are reported to create about 85 decibels of noise compared with reports of 125 decibels of noise from diesel hammer pile drivers. We have no information on impact of vibration from either type of piledriver.  GO has indicated they have been using diesel hammer piledrivers because of soil conditions in the area and the fact that diesel pile drivers produce the required accuracy.

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