Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Irresponsible, Incompetent, and Deadly

Updated 01-26-11 10:30PM

A tragic event happened this morning in my back yard. A man died while working construction on the Henley St. Bridge. Though there are no details that will be released for weeks I think that the evidence points to the fact that TDOT has picked the wrong company to do this construction.

I went to one of the original meetings about the Henley bridge several months ago before a contractor had been picked. My biggest concern was the noise and potential impact on my quality of life as my building sits at the foot of the bridge. I asked the man who was in charge of picking a contractor if night work was planned, he said no. He lied.

I and my neighbors and others in Maplehurst were lied to as well. The construction and jack-hammering goes on from 10PM to 6AM. It is impossible to sleep without loud ambient noise and the sleep is fitful at best. There is no work around for that kind of construction. There was no consideration given to the hundreds of people who live literally next to it and apparently there was little consideration given to those who were working on the bridge.

The company, Britton Bridge LLC, which apparently can't be bothered to set up a website, has been in business for 10 years. I'm not privy to the details of the bid, my wife called over to complain about the noise and was told, in so many words, that speed was the most important thing.

It's time to stop this crazy pace. There is no need to have men operating heavy machinery hundreds of feet off the ground in the snow, ice, and pitch black of January. There is no reason to make people suffer for years, to make their home rattle all through the night, and to create an unsafe and untenable living situation.

Complaints can be directed to TDOT and their Bridge HQ on the south-side of the bridge at 865-577-6988. I'll follow up with some further details about noise ordinances etc., but wanted to make a firm statement after this tragedy that was a complete waste of a human life. Please call often to complain about this unnecessary push that has already cost one life.

I have hope for comfort for the mans family and hope for wisdom from the city.

Some video of our typical night


From my neighbor: 2 emails

Hi Mr. The Pol (that's how my neighbors know me - what?),

I just finished speaking to the TDOT of Knoxville (594-2400) and spoke to a secretary. I voiced my complaints and the woman was quite rude, shocking. She said she is aware of only one other complaint and that the construction is not in violation because of the type of contract they have. It allows the contractor to work at anytime of day in order to complete the project within 3 yrs. She then transferred me to the contractors office and I spoke with another woman. In any event, I was given the phone number of the office and a Mr. Jack Stout is reportedly the man responsible and overseeing the project of the construction. The number is 577-6988. The office was closed, possibly for lunch. I will call again later. As far as the city ordinances I found, here is the direct link.

I'm going to call city council again.

And the second email:

I left a message for Nick Pavlin (579-2055), the city council member responsible for the Henley St bridge construction. I was also told they will be having a city council meeting at the Henley community Center between Blount and Chapman streets, across from an old hospital? It's at 6 pm on Jan 31st.


Anonymous said...

I really feel for you and your situation. It has to be awful to have all the hammering going on. But you have to see it from the perspective of all other parties. You are talking about the major bridge crossing for an entire city and metro area. Do you think in the engineers would rather inconvenience 100 people for 2 years or tens of thousands of people for 4 years? The reality is if you want your roads free of pot holes and your water clean and your bridges safe this work must go on. It's part of the choice we make when deciding to live in the city or the country. All that said maybe they can compensate you somehow if you and your neighbors get together and confront the project with your issue.

Robert said...

geeze that's an awful situation. Sorry Pol and Mrs Pol - come on up to 4th and Gill, it's nice and quiet up here.

The Modern Gal said...

Does the city have a noise ordinance? I lived in a construction zone in Nashville and was always being woken up by construction noise. I don't know if it would get you anywhere, but if there's a noise ordinance that covers, say, 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., maybe you could challenge the work being done at the bridge terminus overnight with the city. Maybe they could stick to work on the middle of the bridge or the other end, where to my knowledge there's no residential properties?

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about the death and my heart goes out to the family.

Pol, I am sorry about the noise. While the 100 block construction never went THROUGH the night, we did have a bunch of early mornings and late nights. No fun. I relied on foam ear plugs. I can get you some if you need them. :(

bran said...

and you'd think they would take the night off after a tragedy....

Temple House said...

I live across the street. I take no issue with them working as much as they feel safe to do and I understand the construction business as that's my line of work too. They are more than welcome to work every day of the week. They are more than welcome to even work at night. But jack hammering with machines the size of dinosaurs at four am is unacceptable. I wonder if this were happening in Sequoyah Hills on Kingston Pike would they be working through the night 'for the benefit of the thousands'. I think not.

I own two houses down here. The one I'm in now is made of near solid concrete. All night, nearly every night, the entire house shakes. Doors bang on walls, bottle rattle on shelves, and window seals snap, crackle and pop.....all damned night long. You can feel it in your bones. ALLLLLLL night long. Ear plugs don't do squat in a near constant earthquake.

The Pol is right. There are probably two to three hundred hard working people living around both bases of this lovely bridge. And I assure everyone that we all are tolerant to allow them to save this beautiful structure. But there is no reason other than money, that we are doing this night and day. I wonder how many men are going to die and/or be crippled so that you can ride on that road a tad faster. I'd rather it take three years and no one die than two and loose just one more person.

B said...

In regards to anon's comment: I'm wondering, has the closing of the bridge been a major inconvenience so far? I haven't heard any major complaints about the detours so far from people I know that formerly commuted across the bridge, but I'd like to hear other's opinions.

I hope that during this time, Knoxville leaders would consider this article while the bridge is closed:


The whole theme seems to speak about slowing down Henley. Let's do that with the construction, too. There's no need to rush and make people's lives (those working and those living nearby) miserable.

Mickey said...

@Anon- Would you feel that way if it were you and your family who couldn't sleep for two years?

@B- That Jack Neely article is right-on.

Anonymous said...

That's interesting. I went directly to Mr. Stout with my complaint not about noise in general but about it only in the middle of the night when it's rude as hell to be doing that. He gave me the number of Mr. Britton and said he had no authority to do anything about it and that I'd have to talk to the construction company. But then added that the city/TDOT put no restrictions on when they could work. I replied with "so". "Just because they have no rules on when to work and when not to work doesn't mean some shouldn't be instituted". To which he said call the contractor. I have not had the time to yet but when I did was the day this gentlemen died. So I have decided to wait a few days before I do. I'll happily call TDOT now to add my name to their "we have had no complaints" list.

Listen, I take no issue with the efforts to do this as quickly as possible. I don't like it and think it silly but understand the goals. However, when people are dying and entire neighborhoods are miserable....then some accommodations need to be made to said schedule/plans. As I've said before....this would NOT be happening on Kingston Pike in Sequoyah HIlls all night long no matter how many people were 'distressed' by the schedule.

Ian Blackburn said...

I live in the same building The Pol does. I don't have much problem with the all-night jackhammering if it gets the project done on (or ahead of) schedule. I've lived next to train tracks before. You get used to it.

I do, however, have a big fat problem with overnight demolition when there was exactly zero work being done all day yesterday during daylight hours. There wasn't a damn person on that bridge until maybe 8 PM, and then the T-Rex jackhammer ran all night. And as far as I've been able to tell, this is the routine schedule.

(btw, it's Nick Pavlis, not Nick Pavlin)

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