HP Village Aims to Conduct Quieter Construction

If sound-curtailing measures at Highland Park Village work as planned, snoring spouses would get blamed more often for keeping neighbors up than heavy construction equipment operating through the night.

With crews giving one Village building a major makeover while adding a small addition to another, procedures and equipment are being employed to reduce noise leaving the construction site, said president and CEO of A.G. Hill Partners Joe O’Brien. A.G. Hill manages the trusts that own Highland Park Village.

Before the Town Council recently authorized overnight work at the site, O’Brien outlined steps workers will take to mitigate noise after 10 p.m.

Radio use and backing up will be minimized. Sound attenuation panels designed to absorb noise will be installed and moved throughout the construction period.

“With these panels the decibel level will be lower than a snoring spouse,” O’Brien said.

Nearby resident Bobby Burns complained in February about the potential annoyance of “beep, beep, beep” from trucks backing up through the night.

Safety laws won’t allow the disabling of warning signals on trucks and forklifts, but the Village’s general contractor, the Whiting Turner Contracting Company, is using a traffic pattern that minimizes the need for trucks to back up as they come through the work site after 10 p.m.

“We’ve designed it so they only move in one direction,” O’Brien said. Drivers are also to turn their vehicles off while not in motion late at night.

The Village is updating the façade on the building along Preston Road that houses Chanel, Starbucks, and Anthropologie, converting the second floor from offices to retail and expanding the third floor to accommodate a private club with large balconies.

The town has also granted permission to add a 1,175-square-foot second floor to the interior building that houses the Vince clothing store — plans Village officials are working to finalize.

Working at night helps keep retailers operating throughout the construction period, improves safety on the site, and should allow contractors to finish in about a year instead of 18 months, O’Brien said.

“If I lived where you lived, four to six months early would be an important consideration,” Mayor Joel T. Williams III told concerned neighbors.

The heaviest work with the highest potential for noise is occurring in the first few months with underground utility work and demolition through mid-June, followed by foundation work and the drilling of piers through July when traffic in the Village tends to be seasonally lower.

Neighbors should still expect some noise, town council member John McKnight said.

“They are about to undergo a major construction season,” he said. “It’s intensive, and it creates noise.”

Town staff will respond to complaints, verify decibel levels, shut down work as necessary, and return to council, if warranted, to propose modified nighttime regulations, said development services manager Kirk Smith.

“What will trigger our concern will be hearing from residents,” councilmember Margo Goodwin told O’Brien.

“They just want to be able to sleep at night,” Williams added.

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