Work halts after it kept residents awake
SLEEPLESS residents in south Belfast have been successful in halting an essential maintenance programme that was keeping them awake at night.
Repair work involving the sandblasting of Tate's Avenue bridge, which began last week, was the cause of many resident complaints due to the level of noise and dust created during the process.
Work on the bridge had been scheduled for night time hours for the next few weeks due to the area being one of Belfast's main arterial routes for rail and motorists.
The Department of Regional Development have since met with the project contractor and have agreed to suspend repair work until they can discuss appropriate and effective measures for the site.
A spokesperson for the DRD said: "We have reviewed the programme and have identified some additional work which could potentially be carried out during the daytime instead of overnight, which will help to reduce the amount of night-time working required. This will be subject to consultation with Translink, to agree suitable health and safety controls which will ensure the safety of the Contractor's workforce, as well as rail passengers.
"The Roads Service would like to reassure local residents that no shotblasting will be carried out at night until we are satisfied that all reasonable measures have been put in place to minimise the impact of this work. We currently anticipate that night-time working will resume in approximately two weeks, subject to the appropriate measures being in place at that time."
The spokesperson added that some work is due to recommence later this week, however this will only take place during normal daytime hours.
Despite resident unrest the Belfast City Council said that they have only received one complaint in relation to the work but said that after meeting with officials from the DRD Road Service they will liaise with the DRD and other agencies to address any issues which may arise while the work is being carried out.
SDLP leader Allister McDonnell had been amongst those calling for the contractors to take local people into account.
"I understand that some residents cannot sleep due to the noise and disruption created by these maintenance works. I can appreciate that such essential works need to take place, but this is a densely populated area, and the contractors also need to take local people into account. This work is lasting for several weeks. If it was a few days, it might not be such an issue, but no one wants to be sleep deprived for a long period of time," he said.
"The relevant authorities need to address their concerns in a reasonable way, such as altering working hours, and installing further acoustic screening. Hopefully such measures will minimise disruption and I will continue to monitor the situation on behalf of local people."