NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 25, 2013

Shattered peace

Amesbury condo owners struggle with noise, lights from bridge construction

(Continued)

The problem has been compounded by the fact that when the contractors cleared out all of the trees next to the highway to make room for the expanded road, the natural barrier protecting the Taylor’s home from highway noise and debris was suddenly gone.

“Most people never even knew there were homes back here, but now you can obviously see them clear as day,” Taylor said. “And that makes a big difference. We never used to be able to hear the road, and now it’s really loud.”

The project’s completion in 2016 isn’t expected to bring any relief for the Taylors and their neighbors either. Once the project is complete, the structure of the new bridge will come within 25 feet of the Taylors home, and the only thing expected to separate the highway from the house is a 30-foot wall that will top out around Taylor’s roof.

“They’ve said repeatedly that they’re not going to have any noise barriers or barriers to prevent cars or debris from flying off the highway, and even when the snowplows are plowing, that stuff shoots a long way,” Taylor said. “The wall they’re going to built is only 30 feet high, which is right about our roof line, which means we’re totally wide open to anything that comes off the highway.”

Besides being a major nuisance, Taylor said the project has also begun to become a financial hardship too. He recently had to replace his air conditioning unit because all of the dirt kicked up by the project clogged it, and he said getting the contractor Walsh and McCourt to reimburse it – as they are supposed to – has been a hassle.

The problems posed by the project were not unforeseen by Taylor and his neighbors. When the project was first announced and it became clear what was going to happen, Taylor and his neighbors put together a proposal that would have had the state take their property by eminent domain and use it as a temporary staging area for the contractors.

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