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Northern Pass noise claims challenged

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 23. 2017 9:21PM

CONCORD — Concord’s deputy city solicitor Monday challenged the co-author of a report that concluded that residents living in urban areas such as the capital city would see only minor increases in noise during construction of Northern Pass.

“But you would agree that if there’s construction occurring within 100 to 200 feet of somebody’s home, there will be a significant disruption, right?” Danielle Pacik said before the Site Evaluation Committee considering the hydroelectric transmission project.

“There will be a disruption,” said Adam Zysk, a senior site/civil engineer who works for Dewberry, a Virginia engineering firm.

Pacik highlighted the following in the Dewberry report:

“In urban areas, the temporary increase in noise levels due to construction or other disruptive factors may be seen as a relatively minor increase in the overall noise level and may be ignored or generally tolerated as long as the impact is understood to be short term,” the Dewberry report said.

After Pacik again asked about whether the noise would be significant for those living near the construction, Zysk said: “That’s a relative term.”

Zysk said some residences are near retail areas that already produce background noise and are defined “short-term” as lasting perhaps fewer than six months.

The proposed $1.6 billion project, which runs through more than 30 communities, needs several state and federal approvals before it can start operating by late 2020. The route runs from Pittsburg to Deerfield and includes 60 miles of buried lines. The Site Evaluation Committee said it hopes to issue a verbal decision by late February and a written one by late March.

Northern Pass officials have said they want to perform construction between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Pacik said project officials are trying to reach memoranda of understanding with officials from communities along the route that would allow for the option of Sunday construction work and permit heavy equipment to use local roads, even during times when weight limits apply.

Meanwhile, Steven Whitley, who represents several municipalities as well as the Ashland Water and Sewer Department, contrasted a recent letter with testimony earlier this year from Northern Pass officials promising to move an access road to accommodate monitoring wells in Ashland.

Whitley pointed to an Aug. 25 letter from Northern Pass officials that included the phrase “if necessary.”

After some confusion over the question, David Taylor, associate vice president at Dewberry, said he didn’t see the qualifier.

Northern Pass spokesman Martin Murray later said the project has made some modifications asked for near the Ashland sewage lagoons.

“To be clear, the road exists today and so far our review indicates that the proposed structures and temporary construction areas can coexist,” he said.

Energy Concord


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