The City of Aiken has granted a request that will allow crews to work on the Laurens Street bridge during hours not typically permitted by a city noise ordinance.
City Manager Richard Pearce released a letter Tuesday afternoon that he’s sending to those living near the construction area that states crews can start work at 5 a.m. and continue until 12:30 a.m.
This will be on a “trial basis,” Pearce wrote in the letter. He also said city staff will monitor the site to see how those extra hours are being used by the B.K. Crowder Construction crew.
The contractor told Pearce they’ll do whatever they can to keep the noisier construction work during the daytime hours.
The city’s noise ordinance does not allow construction to occur between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and on Sundays crews are permitted to work from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Crowder Construction and the S.C. Department of Transportation requested a variance of the city’s noise ordinance in order to gain more hours to complete the bridge replacement project by its Sept. 28 deadline. The Laurens Street bridge closed April 2 after a corner of it sunk several inches and it was later determined that the whole structure needed to be replaced.
A large portion of the work started in mid-June when the bridge was demolished. Some residents in the vicinity of the construction say that, so far, the noise hasn’t bothered them much.
Spencer Smith is one of those residents who said he doesn’t see a problem with the noise ordinance variance.
“It’s tolerable to me,” he said. “Sometimes (it gets loud) but you get used to it.”
“It’s fine with us,” said Helen Asbill, another resident who lives near the bridge. “It’s always fine as long as it gets the job done.”
Alice Foster said that she’s heard some noise and her condo has vibrated a little from the work but she hasn’t minded. The extra hours of construction don’t concern her either, she said, especially if it will help crews make deadline.
“When things are broken, they need to be fixed,” Foster said. “I just thank the Lord that they’re doing it right.”
The crew has 180 days to complete the project, and the clock started ticking on April 10. The bridge project must be finished by Sept. 28 so it will be fully covered by federal Emergency Relief funding.
If the bridge is not finished by that date, SCDOT has to pick up 20 percent of the remaining cost.
The total cost of the bridge replacement project is around $2.5 million.
Crews experienced delays from not only the recent rain but an issue with the bridge’s foundation. The heavier work halted as the foundation was redesigned to ensure the new structure would be stable.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the project or the variance should call the city manager’s office at 642-7654 or visit www.cityofaikensc.gov.
Amy Banton is the Aiken City beat reporter for the Aiken Standard. She’s a native of Rustburg, Va. and a graduate of Randolph Macon Woman’s College.