City says it won't allow after-hours pile driving

City manager gives thumbs-down to quieter vibration method, which he and staff judged not quiet enough

Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2004

There won't be any after-hours pile driving for a new cruise-ship dock, but neither work crews nor their company will face charges for the incident that woke up many in the community after midnight Thursday.

The work is being done for a new cruise ship dock near the rock pile off Thane Road.

Juneau City Manager Rod Swope said Friday he would not permit after-hours work for a quieter driver that works piles into the sea bed by vibrating them. During a test Friday he listened from Douglas Island while staff members listened from downtown.

Although it was quieter than the diesel-powered hydraulic pile driver used Thursday, Swope said there was some noise, which concerned him.

"I told them I just wasn't comfortable given the heightened sensitivity and concern," he said.

Residents throughout downtown and Douglas called police and city officials to complain during the noise early Thursday morning and later in the day. A spokesman for Southeast Stevedoring, which is building the dock, said the subcontractor conducting the work had been told not to drive piles at night but made a mistake.

No permit is needed for work between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekends, he said.

Swope said he believed Thursday that police at the scene issued a citation for disturbing the peace, but he has since learned that police only shut down the operation.

Police spokesman Capt. Tom Porter said officers considered the after-hours permit, which allowed some after-hours work, to be ambiguous.

In the end, revoking the after-hours permit was the only action taken in the case.

Swope said the company will need to complete the pile driving by April 1 because of restrictions to protect young fish.

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