VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — People living on the Norfolk-Virginia Beach line are upset because they can’t sleep at night, and they say VDOT construction is to blame.
VDOT’s work on Interstate 64 and Interstate 264 improvements is right outside their front doors.
Both neighbors and VDOT agree that the work needs to be done to improve traffic at the interchange, which often gets congested during rush hour.
But at what cost to those living nearby?
“If they clip a rock with their wheel it can fly and it hasn’t hit a car yet,” said neighbor Rachel Simmons.
Simmons is literally a stone’s throw away from where a construction site sits, where large trucks and equipment go in and out of often.
“Yeah, just toss them over,” she said.
The construction is part of a very large project that’s getting done over two phases. It will provide about four miles of interstate improvements from the twin bridges in Norfolk to the Witchduck Road interchange in Virginia Beach.
“We’re improving the busiest interchange in all of Hampton Roads,” said VDOT spokesman David Forster.
Forster says construction started in November of 2016.
“What it’s going to do is essentially improve the commute and travel for the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that go through this corridor every day,” said Forster.
Some of the construction can happen during the day, but Forster says its also necessary that it happens overnight too.
“We limit work on the interstates to night time, because we don’t want to disrupt traffic during rush hour which requires us to do the work at night in those cases and then that can then affect people at home so there’s a difficult balancing act that has to be done,” Forster said.
“They go until 11 o’clock at night almost always and the past couple weeks they’ve been going nonstop all through the night,” Simmons said.
That’s where the problem comes in for Simmons.
“It shakes my house, it terrifies my dog, she runs under the bed and shakes and cries,” Simmons said.
She says she’s taken videos over night of the noise that keeps her up.
To try and block out the sound, she has a nightly routine.
“I take a regular earplug, and then I put the silicone over top of that one, and then I have my Bose noise canceling headphones that go over that,” she said.
But even with all of that, she says she can still hear machinery backing up.
“There’s disruptions in people’s lives, we understand that, we sympathize with that, we do, and that’s why we try to immediately to people’s concerns and try to work ahead proactively to address issues before they become a problem,” Forster said.
Simmons says she has contacted VDOT multiple times to address issues like lights shining in her bedroom window overnight, a port-o-potty across from her mailbox and rocks being raked early in the morning. She says VDOT has worked with her on these issues.
“They’ve made steps to make things a little better but it’s still not a quality of life that we can tolerate,” Simmons said.
According to VDOT, it’s received about 75 complaints in the 25 months since construction began.
With the most common issues that include the speed of construction trucks, noise and tracking dirt into roads.
“Those who live along this project, they’re bearing the brunt of the cost of building this project of this size and making the improvements for all of Hampton Roads,” said Forster.
VDOT did give us a list of the allowable hours for lane closures which do show work can happen overnight into the morning.
10 On Your Side asked both Norfolk and Virginia Beach if this violates any ordinances.
Norfolk says the interchange project is allowed to work overnight by permit, and contractors’ work hours are reviewed.
Virginia Beach says its rule is very similar.
Simmons was hoping VDOT would fund noise canceling window inserts for her bedroom.
VDOT says that’s not something they do.
10 On Your Side also asked Norfolk and Virginia Beach if any company could get a permit to have work done overnight.
Virginia Beach says it’s on a case by case basis.
Norfolk says It depends on where the work is taking place, the type of noise, and whether the work can be accomplished during the day.
For more info on the project, click here.