WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Waikiki residents say all-night noise from road work on Ala Moana Boulevard has them at wits end.
"You hear pounding. You hear digging," said resident Shannon Patalano.
"Oh, horrible loud rumbling noises and grinding noises and pounding noises and one time they were driving something into the ground. The whole building was shaking," added resident Sallie Ruth.
People who live in apartments overlooking the construction say the raucous is so loud it keeps them up all night. The work is done five nights a week, Sunday through Thursday. The noise usually escalates about 8:30 p.m. and lasts until the contractor has to be off the road at 6:30 a.m.
"A lot of people go to school. A lot of people go to work, and we need our sleep. I can understand some construction, but it is ungodly loud," said resident Parke Pendleton.
The work is part of a comprehensive facelift for Ala Moana Boulevard. The Department of Transportation is moving all utility lines underground. It is building new concrete bus pads, sidewalks, and curbs. New antique looking street lights are being installed. And once all the underground work is complete, the road will be repaved.
"I think everybody agrees that when this project is done, the area is going to look much much better," said Dan Meisenzahl, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation.
The angry residents live along the first phase of the project between Kalakaua Avenue and the Ala Moana Boulevard bridge over the Ala Wai Canal. Phases two through five will stretch West from the canal to Fort Street in downtown Honolulu.
The work requires lane closures and is being done at night to avoid gridlock during the day.
"There are so many cars. If we close that road (Ala Moana Boulevard) down from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, it would be a tie-up that would go all the way up to Nimitz Highway. You know we've got buses. We've got businesses. It just wasn't feasible to do during the daytime. It would create a traffic nightmare," Meisenzahl said.
But residents who have dealt with the noise since for the past six months disagree.
"There's got to be a different way. There has to be. Maybe (work) every other night. Maybe different hours," Patalano suggested.
"We've been putting up with the lack of sleep for so many months, since March, that maybe it's time to cause a little traffic inconvenience for other people. I feel like we've sacrificed so much for this project and we're at our wits end. We're desperate," said resident Aubri Tallent.
"Traffic is an inconvenience. Not getting enough sleep chronically for months on end is detrimental to physical and mental health. There are a whole slew of health problems associated with that including depression and irritability and poor job performance poor quality of life. And we're experiencing all of that," Tallent said.
The contractor, Goodfellow Brothers, told Hawaii News Now it doing what it can to suppress noise. For example it has silenced all back-up beepers and restricted saw cutting and jack-hammering until no later than midnight. Goodfellow Brothers has provided a hotline for people to call with complaints. But construction is inherently noisy and lights necessary when working in the dark.
Night work along the first phase of the project is scheduled to be finished before the end of September. Then the work will move in the Ewa direction and people along the Ala Moana corridor will experience noise and other construction activity until the scheduled end of the entire project in March of 2012.