Public meeting scheduled for Central 70 noise variance

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I-70 during Central 70 Project construction (KDVR)

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver will host a virtual public meeting on another renewal for Interstate 70 construction to exceed noise ordinances during night work.

The Central 70 project is reconstructing and expanding a 10-mile portion of I-70. Construction company Kiewit has received a noise variance each year since 2018 to do night work on the project.

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment recommends another approval, which would be in place through 2022.

Here are the requirements for the variance:

  • Average hourly level: 75 decibels
  • Noise events: no more than 86 decibels
  • Time in effect: Monday-Friday, 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The meeting will be held on Zoom on Thursday, Aug. 12. Anyone who wants to make a public comment during the meeting must register in advance up until 5:30 p.m. the day of the meeting.

Here is more information on the meeting and how to participate.

What do the noise levels mean?

Allowable noise levels are 50-55 decibels in the residential areas near the construction site, according to the permit proposal. That’s comparable to a normal conversation or an air conditioner.

For comparison, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends decibel levels no greater than 85 decibels for employees — or about the level of gas-powered lawnmowers and leaf blowers.

As part of the permit, Denver health officials monitor the noise and provide monthly updates on their findings and would continue to do so.

People who work and live near the construction site in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods have complained of disruptions and health and business impacts from the project’s noise and pollution.

Kiewit’s permit already requires the company to house, transport and feed people who live near the project when the construction noise is expected to exceed the variance. The proposed permit would continue that requirement.

What will the Central 70 project do to I-70?

The Colorado Department of Transportation said the $1.2 billion project, which has suffered delays, will:

  • reconstruct a 10-mile stretch of I-70 between I-25 and Chambers Road;
  • add one new express lane in each direction;
  • remove the aging 55-year old viaduct;
  • lower the interstate between Brighton and Colorado Boulevards;
  • and place a 4-acre park over a portion of the lowered interstate.

CDOT said the main construction is expected to continue for another 16 months, with some additional work on “punch-list items” continuing through 2023.

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