18 April 2018

Braddon residents want noisy night works completely derailed

| Glynis Quinlan
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A light rail vehicle (file photo). Braddon residents are alarmed about proposed light rail work being carried out all night near their homes.

Braddon residents alarmed about facing two-and-a-half weeks without sleep while light rail work is carried out all night near their homes have been given a temporary two-day reprieve but are planning to fight to make sure the night works option is completely derailed.

Canberra Metro Construction had informed residents that it would carry out tunnelling works in Braddon from tonight (April 18) until May 5, but yesterday told a resident that those works would be postponed until Friday when “an assessment will be completed re progress and a decision made as to whether the night works option will be actioned”.

However, residents are concerned that this is just “delaying the misery” and want assurances that the night works will be cancelled altogether.

“Forty-eight hours is meaningless. At this stage, all it represents is a stay of execution and we’re not prepared to face the execution,” said Braddon resident Brendan Drake.

Mr Drake said that hundreds of nearby residents are likely to be affected if the tunnelling works go ahead at night and for those residents, it would mean “never-ending sleeplessness”.

“They [the tunnelling works] would start at 6 pm and finish at 7 am and the regular hours of work are 7 am to 6 pm and so it’s effectively 24 hours,” Mr Drake said.

“Sleep deprivation is torture in another context,” he said, adding that Braddon residents shouldn’t have to suffer in order for lost time to be made up in the light rail schedule.

“It’s mindless on the part of the government to allow it to happen. It’s really unbelievable and we shouldn’t have to bear the brunt.”

Under the planned night works’ proposal, which is now under review, tunnelling work was to be undertaken between the Mort Street Car Park and Elouera Street in Braddon during the night from April 18 to May 5, with a break for Anzac Day on April 25.

A micro tunnel boring machine and an excavator were among the noisy machinery Canberra Metro Construction planned to use at night.

“Due to the nature of the work, some of the activities will be noisy,” Canberra Metro Construction admitted on its website.

“The project team will limit these impacts wherever possible and turn off equipment when not in use. Non-tonal reversing beepers will be used and workers will be instructed to keep noise to a minimum.”

One Braddon resident who didn’t want to be named said the work is set to be carried out 15 metres from his unit’s bedroom.

“I’m against them even proposing to do it because it is not an acceptable proposal. It’s going to too greatly affect local residents for too great a period of time – two-and-a-half weeks,” he said.

“All these people around here already have a 7 am alarm from light rail and nearby building sites and they have been jack-hammering and so it is not quiet.”

The Braddon man had been informed that the night works had been postponed until Friday but said he wasn’t told whether this was due to community objections or changes to the work schedule.

“Let’s hope it’s permanent,” he said.

Another Braddon resident who works from home said she already tries to be out for most of the day because of the noise and does not want it to go on all night as well.

“I feel that even though they might be exempt from noise restrictions they still need to take residences into account,” she said.

ACT Opposition Transport spokesperson Candice Burch said there is no way that individuals would be allowed to make the same level of noise at all hours of the night.

“So why is it okay for the government, just because it’s related to light rail?” Ms Burch queried.

“Well, it’s just not fair and it looks like it all comes down to the government playing catch-up on light rail construction,” she said.

“How the government can expect residents to function with little to no sleep for more than two weeks is beyond me.”

Ms Burch said that if the night works go ahead then residents should be offered respite from the noise.

“When Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel project has to do works this noisy for this long, residents are offered alternative accommodation for the duration of the works. This gives them a chance to get a decent night’s sleep. Braddon residents haven’t been offered the same courtesy.”

A spokesperson for the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate told The RiotACT that the night work in Braddon scheduled to start tonight has been postponed “due to an unexpected need to make adjustments to the work schedule”.

“Out of hours works will be required to complete the necessary works along Elouera Street, however Canberra Metro will make every effort to minimise noise disruption to the community,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that mitigation activities in place include:

  • turning off plant and equipment when not in use
  • arranging the site to minimise the noise of movement alarms on vehicles and plant – with the majority of site equipment fitted with reversing beacons/non-tonal movement alarms that eliminate the need for high pitch ‘reversing beepers’
  • sequencing the works to minimise out-of-hours noise impacts wherever possible.

Do you think it is fair for the night works to go ahead or should locals be safeguarded from weeks of sleeplessness? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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So the Canberra community is paying a billion dollars so these people can have a tram, and then they whine about the construction noise and want sympathy.

Surely this isn’t a real article by someone from along the tram route, but instead is a beat up by someone who lives in an area the tram will never get to! The people along the tram route couldn’t really be precious – could they?

Here is an explaination of the work and the need to continue working out of hours.


This looks to me like a plan based on “We need an excuse to not be launching the tram in 2018 as promised”. “Oops sorry Canberrans, the snowflake Northbourne hipsters made us slow down the project. Not our fault it’s being delayed!”

I’m amazed at the ‘have your cake and eat it’ mentality emerging in Canberra. People moving from their quarter acre blocks to live in swanky apartments with names conjuring up high rise cities with a 24 hour cosmopolitan rush, wanting to live in the hustle and bustle, but expecting it all to stop when they have their cocoa at 9pm and go to bed … This just sounds like a bunch of whingers that want all the benefits of living in the city but none of the associated consequences. News flash folks – More noise, lights and traffic are on the way – better bump your bedtimes back a notch …

I think you will find there are no swanky apartments in the immediate vicinity of where these works are taking place. Those directly affected (in terms of being very close to where the tunnelling will take place) are in the very old run down terrace/townhouse (at least from the street) sort of building on the corner of Northbourne and Elouera, opposite the huge building pit that is the Midnight site. Its most certainly not a ‘hipster joint’ as your comment suggests.

Anyone within sound range of the works is either fairly well off or will be forced to leave their home with the increase in rates.
Wont be long before a suburban home will be charged at the rate that 20 story apartments would earn on the same block.

No one owns the land in Canberra

Light rail itself is noisy too.

Only going round right corners where there can be some wheel squeak. On stage 1 there is one such corner with not much around to be disturbing.

And even then modern light rail vehicles have the wheels attached to the body, rather than bogies like you would find on the older Melbourne trams. They, slung from body don’t squeak any where near as much as bogie mounted either.

Braddon has had this on and off for the entire year. It’s not just the noise, it’s the extremely bright lights they use that shine directly into our bedroom!! And they leave those lights up every night regardless of if they’re working or not. That coupled with the noise and the flashing lights on the machine has meant we can’t WAIT to move.

Capital Retro3:25 pm 19 Apr 18

And being at night, they cannot be powered by solar so it’s likely that it’s evil coal or dirty diesel that is compounding the problem. Oh, the guilt!

Ever heard of batteries? A lot of those lights have solar panels that charge the batteries throughout the day.

Capital Retro7:24 am 22 Apr 18

Only the ow draw LED advisory signs are in that category. The high intensity work lights are either mains or diesel generator powered.

Chloë Wilcomes5:52 pm 18 Apr 18

Canberra metro are always contradicting themselves. You get notified if they plan night works, but zero notifications if they suddenly decide to close a road you use on a daily basis. They need to be held accountable for their actions and need to understand that there are people who are going to be negatively affected by whatever planned works they come up with.

Good point..they used to send out weekly updates via SMS if you subscribed to them but haven’t heard a peep from them for months and months and yet the distributions continue ?

“. . . need to understand that there are people who are going to be negatively affected by whatever planned works they come up with.”

So what you are saying is the work is essentially unavoidable. In which case what exactly are you complaint about or how do you think they should be doing to?

An argument to have double glazing, which should be compulsory.

ChrisinTurner4:15 pm 18 Apr 18

I agree, it should be mandatory in Canberra, especially because I discovered, to my delight, European iPvc framed, wide-spaced argon filled double glazing is now about the same price as the aluminum framed single glazing.

I’ve always found that if I have a hard time getting to sleep, I count sheep until I fall asleep. Maybe the residents of Braddon could count the increase in the value of their properties, dollar by dollar, as a result of Light Rail?

I don’t think light rail will increase the value of those appartments that are already within comfortable walking distance of the city. Like Braddon.

Peter Kelley12:04 pm 18 Apr 18

On the one hand how noisy are these works likely to be actually? At the moment the noise is an unknown quantity. On the other hand 2 weeks IS a long time. I’m glad that the Gungahlin section is nearly done and I hope that the sections further down are completed quickly.

Capital Retro11:37 am 18 Apr 18

The irony of this part of the construction is that electrical cables are to placed in the tunnels/ducts that are being constructed to take power to the rail track which seems pointless because the tram will then derive its power from overhead wires on ugly steel stanchions.

If it wasn’t serious it would be funny.

I was under the impression it was a substation being put in at this site, that will feed the overhead wires at this location. But the irony of it shouldn’t be lost on anyone (I can’t see why a better technical solution than overhead wires was not seriously considered).

Dorinda Lillington2:12 pm 19 Apr 18

The light rail should have been constructed with no wires and be State of the Art. My concern is that it will be redundant in a few years as self drive vehicles emerge and Canberra’s population will be left with a massive debt to bare.

Mcs you are right and that is what Capital Retro was going on about.

And capital want ugly what about all the street lights? On Flemington road you get a good view of the line and the thing that really stands out are all the ugly street lights. On this section I personally would have like to have seen the street lights replaced and used as the overhead support instead of more poles down the centre.

That said they have started putting the wire up on Flemnington road and it doesn’t actually look that bad. They are also removing the construction barriers and doing the landscaping along this section.

Once the trees grow about the only thing that will be visible from the road are you got it those ugly street lights.

Capital Retro7:26 am 22 Apr 18

Ugly street lights are useful.

So are poles carrying overhead power.

But you missed my point I was actually kind of agreeing, just offering the suggestion the light poles which are essential may have been utilised to carry the overhead.

Near the Gungahlin town centre there is a section where poles on the outside of the road will carry the cable, not sure why they weren’t able to put i centre pole there. Maybe too close to the stop and the road.

I haven’t heard anyone claim that its necessary to do the work at night for some reason, so it should be done during the day. Having a neighbour who’s had noisy work done on their home for up to 2 weeks at a time during the day, I don’t know how residents are coping with non stop light rail construction during the day. 24/7 construction would drive me insane. When I looked at the original construction schedule a little while back it looked like it was already running 3-6 months behind. With the information available so far, this looks like an attempt to try and catch up, but that should not be done at the expense of residents’ sleep.

Curious where was the schedule published? Advice I have from someone who is working on construction (a concreter) is they are on schedule.

I posted the link elsewhere but apparently the reason is they found rock which will take extra time to get through it. So requires 4 nights of night work (in addition to day work) to remain on schedule.

If they did it during the day and delayed the whole lot, I could well imagine the uproar from the detractors here on this board claiming government incompetence yadda yadda yadda.

Glynis Quinlan1:53 pm 22 Apr 18

That link was actually already in the second paragraph of my article. However, the information has been updated since my article was originally written and they seem to be reviewing and cutting back on what they originally planned to do – possibly because of the residents’ concerns althought they don’t seem to be saying that.

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