Noise and vibration exposure
Acoustic sheds and noise walls are used to attempt to reduce the noise and dust generated from construction, but residents will still be severely impacted. Some functions are excessively loud and the noise cannot be effectively mitigated by sheds or noise walls. Surface road construction cannot be covered and generally needs to be undertaken at night when traffic levels are low. Many residents will be impacted by construction noise as they are located on hills elevated above the site at Balgowlah, or simply too close to the work.
An example of the noise and disturbance generated by construction at a similar site in St Peters is below (filmed by residents at 1am).
The EIS details many examples of the noise and vibration that residents will be exposed to from the various construction activities and construction times. These are detailed in Appendix G Noise and Vibration, Part 2. A list of relevant pages and examples of the maps are:
Balgowlah site maps – pages 25-29, 55-66, 102-108, 177-183, 206
Seaforth and Wakehurst Parkway site maps – pages 30-37, 67-76, 109-121, 184, 208
Middle Harbour and Spit Reserve West site maps – pages 15-24, 96-101
The number of homes estimated to be impacted by noise exceedance levels are below(4).
Only when TfNSW deems noise levels too loud and mitigations ineffective are residents eligible for at-property mitigation such as double glazing, or to be housed temporarily in hotels due to night noise exposure.
Some examples on these maps also include residences that are close enough they are within safe distances for vibration from machinery, and may suffer damage to their homes.
Dust particles, particularly silica dust, are generated from construction and are dispersed through truck and equipment movements, open construction areas, and fine particles carried through unavoidable air movements. Silica dust is well known to cause respiratory diseases, and long term exposure at close proximity to the site is a significant health risk to residents.
The EIS states that steps will be taken to minimise this exposure by, for example, covering all vehicles or hosing down trucks. These tasks are undertaken by the contractors on the project, and compliance needs to be enforced – many residents on similar projects have reported regular breaches of these type of requirements on construction sites.