“But it has got to stop from at least 10pm-6am or I’m going to go bonkers”


“Dear PoPville,

We live in the Capitol Square Place development, south of 395 between 7th and 9th Streets SW. Road work on 395 has steadily moved east from the river all summer long. Because it was around the bend of the road, we were rarely bothered by it. However, now that the main work site is directly behind our house (see map) we notice it quite a bit, especially because they work 24/7 or close to it. We are used to quite a bit of traffic noise, horns, sirens, etc, but the huge generator they have constantly running plus the hammering, backing up beeping, and other loud construction work has become unbearable. It’s 11 pm as I write this and the generator is drowning out a white noise machine (that normally covers up all the traffic noise but sirens) and a pair of earplugs. It’s almost rattling the window panes!

I’ve emailed my ANC rep, DDOT, and the mayors office. Next step will be to get my neighbors to complain, too. But what is probably the best route? It has got to be a regulation that non emergency road work can’t be done during sleeping hours if it’s within a certain distance from residential properties, but I don’t know how to find out. We want 395 to be safe and maintained, and we DONT want to prolong the traffic impact this work is having either. But it has got to stop from at least 10pm-6am or I’m going to go bonkers.


39 Comment

  • I am sorry it is so disruptive, but I have to believe you knew the risk of purchasing a home so close to a major artery into the city that services hundreds of thousands of cars per day. Road work is a fact of life on a highway, and the fact is, there’s no way for them to maintain 395 and keep your sleeping schedule on track. Get some ear plugs.

  • Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated by this resident of an apartment building at McPherson Square. There has been jackhammering, stone cutting, and trash removal at all hours of the night for a few weeks now. So frustrating!!!

  • I’m sorry that I have no solutions for you, but you have my sympathies. I loathe loud noises when I’m trying to sleep, and it seems highly unfair for road work to be going on between 11:00 and 4:00.

    • I feel sorry for this homeowner, but I guess you have to pick who the road work is most unfair to. During rush hour, there are probably hundreds of thousands of people travelling, during non-rush hour, I don’t know – less, but a lot. Rush is probably 6/6:30-9:30/10 and 4-7 or so (given my previous commuting experience on that stretch of road, all of those times were a nightmare), which doesn’t leave a lot of time to get work done if you don’t do it overnight. I doubt the workers really want to be pulling a night shift either. I would bet they did the numbers and this schedule inconveniences the fewest people for the shortest time. Not that this makes it any more comfortable for the OP.

      • it’s most unfair to the tax paying DC resident. why should they take a back seat to the drivers who are mostly from Virginia, however many there are of them?

  • “We want 395 to be safe and maintained, and we DONT want to prolong the traffic impact this work is having either. But it has got to stop from at least 10pm-6am”

    Reminds me of the old engineering saying: “We can build it fast, cheap, or reliable. Pick two.”

  • my favorite is when peopco closes a non-through-street in a completely residential area to do work from 10pm-4am… i can totally see doing this in a commercial area, but, in my case, there was absolutely no reason it couldn’t be done during the day (there is almost zero traffic on my street and there is perfect street grid to allow for many alternate routes.

    • I think Pepco generally does work at night to minimize the impact of power being cut off in residential areas. I would much rather have my power off while I’m sleeping.

  • I feel for you and I’m sure its rough but when else are they supposed to work on one of the busiest roads in the city? During rush hour?

  • Oh man, PoPville posters sure are salty today. RUDE, and not helpful @ Anon 2:42. First of all, let me say I cannot even imagine dealing with that because I dealt with it TWO NIGHTS while living in Arlington and it was terrible. Sometimes, I wonder if DDOT has the proper authority to be doing the work they do, not only at night, but during the day. Last week I was driving through the city and they were literally putting down asphalt in the middle of a major intersection without shutting it down. As far as emailing them have you received a response? I would call them and see what they say. I think they can work through the night if it’s only going to be a couple nights, but if it goes on longer than that then I don’t know. If you don’t get answers on the phone then go to one of their offices.

    • I’m not 2:42 but how was it rude? The OP probably got a heavily discounted price on the home for the exact reason that it is adjacent to 395 and this sort of thing is to be expected.

      Would you move next to a fraternity in a college town and complain about the parties?
      Would you move next to Nats stadium and complain about game-day traffic?

      • It was rude because 1. the way they wrote it: no way to keep your sleeping schedule on track. Get some ear plugs (which they already said they did plus white noise machine). 2. It made no helpful suggestions, which the OP asked for! And it’s not like the OP is complaining saying how terrible DC and DDOT are. He/she is merely asking for suggestions or seeing if DDOT has the authority to do this work!

        • What other options are feasible? Assuming the proposed grassroots neighborhood campaign is successful, it WILL prolong the road work and/or punt it until rush hours. So you’re kind of left to grin and bear it or worsen the impact on 395 traffic.

        • Agree to disagree then. I think it was appropriate given the OP’s tone.

      • because it was snide.

  • It’s pretty stupid, though, the way road and utility crews are deployed. I work on Connecticut Ave, which has been under construction/ improvement for months now. They work all day, generators and jackhammers and concrete saws and god knows what else, from 8am to around 4pm. At which point they pack up and go home. This stretch of Connecticut is ENTIRELY commercial. Why can’t the work be done at night?

  • Not that this in any way detracts from other posters’ point that perhaps you should know what you’re getting into if you decide to live next to the highway, but…

    395 sucks. We should either underground it or get rid of it altogether and tell MD and VA commuters to take the Metro if they want to come into DC. That area would be (even more) amazing if we did either of those things.

  • I used to live in this development in one of the houses that backed right up to 395. For everyone saying “you should have known what you were getting into,” my house was remarkably quiet for its location and also an AMAZING deal. Try to get a three story, 3BR 3.5BA with an attached garage, huge kitchen, backyard and porch one block from the metro at the price of the Capitol Square Place houses. The noise was negligible upon purchase, so I’m with the poster that this is surprising.

  • I remember when those townhouses weren’t there and it was just empty. When they started building them I knew that noise of one variety or another was going to be a BIG/loud issue.

    Aren’t there noise cancelling machines used for sleep? Though they might cover all that noise.

    • OP here. We have one (well it’s an enormous air purifier but it makes a loud whoosh noise) and it hides 90% of the normal noise. I’ve had it on and looked out the window to see a motorcade rolling by and couldn’t hear the sirens. Last night I had it on WITH ear plugs and still heard/felt the rumble of the machine and the intermittent cracks from the air compressor.

  • I live on 16th St NW, and back in March there was a ton of noise due to weeks of construction redoing the sidewalks and repaving the street. The construction workers started working outside of the hours that there were approved for work (usually super early in the morning), and it drove us crazy. I contacted our Council member’s office to complain, and they were actually really helpful by contacting the contractor and getting them to stop working outside of approved hours. I would suggest contacting your Council member if you haven’t already.

  • OP here – yes we bought the house knowing that there would be some noise from 395 traffic. We get woken up every so often by an accident (particularly in the winter and for which I usually call 911 in case the drivers need it) or particularly loud horns or air brakes. But we are used to it and we have storm windows that insulate surprisingly well and the aforementioned ear plugs and white noise. This construction noise is WAY beyond anything you could expect to experience. The glass on the windows vibrates from the generator/air compressor and there’s a noise from the compressor that sounds like a gunshot about every 10 seconds. I found the regulations that state that they can’t have noise over a certain decibel limit (55) 9pm-7am, and this is definitely over that. I’m pretty sure the normal traffic is over that just a little, though. If somehow the project got a waiver to work outside those hours they were supposed to mail us something (?) so we could comment? Anyway no, no one has written me back (ANC rep, Tommy Wells, mayors office, DDOT) so I guess I’ll be making some calls. I witness the misery commuters face on 395 daily and don’t want to exacerbate it, but this work in question COULD be done during day hours as it seems to be underneath the entrance ramps/bridges and not on the road itself. Or fewer days of the week? I’m open to compromise to get some sleep!

    • I don’t know what do do about the noise, but do you have more than one bedroom? If so, it might be worth checking to see if one of your other bedrooms is more quiet. If you have drapes, close them to see if it dampens the noise, even a little. Sure, it won’t help much, but any little bit could help, right?

    • Good luck, but I believe the City gets generous exemptions from those rules for road and utility work. The folks near the New York Avenue project were complaining for years, because all the work was being done in the middle of the night, and it was noisy as hell.

    • Sorry to hear about the situation and while there are definitely rules regulating noise, I really doubt you’ll have any luck with your approach. Either there are exemptions to those rules and thus you have no basis to protest, or, maybe you have some legal rights but I find it highly unlikely that the city and the contractor will seriously modify their schedule to accommodate your concerns. Don’t take this the wrong way, but are you really qualified to judge whether they could do the work during day hours? I’m guessing they explored that option as it is both cheaper and safer but obviously, impractical given the realities of traffic. My advice would be to buy an additional sound blocking machine, put up thick drapes around the window, and buy more effective earplugs. It sucks, but I just don’t see your sleep taking precedence over a project like this.

    • Work the night shift instead!

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