A resident reached out to town officials to complain about noisy and smelly overnight construction work on Nassau Street that has been taking place from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., sometimes impacting the ability of residents to sleep.
James Purcell, the assistant municipal engineer, responded saying the scheduling of construction is a matter of balancing the needs of everyone, including residents, businesses, pedestrians, and motorists. He said the Witherspoon Street Improvements project, which will be starting soon, requires that utility repairs, replacements, and upgrades be completed now or wait for five years. The utility companies have a considerable amount of work to do to ensure continued service to all their users for the foreseeable future, Purcell said.
“While it would be preferable for all of the work to be performed in the daytime, there are several reasons that it cannot be. The most important one is public safety,” he said in his email response. “The water supply needs to be shut off during the water utility construction work – this will not only affect the ability to use water fixtures such as showers and toilets, but it also affects the fire suppression systems (sprinklers) in the buildings, and impacts the ability of the businesses to operate – restaurants, in particular.”
Purcell said another public safety issue is related to motor vehicle traffic and pedestrians. During the night, it is possible to close the street to both motor vehicles and pedestrians for a safer environment. Nassau Street is under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the water company is required to abide by their restrictions. Work by the water company is expected to be completed Wednesday night, he said.
“We truly are sorry for the inconvenience. We have spent countless hours on planning with the water company, gas company, sewer authority, electric company, and numerous communications companies with facilities in the streets to ensure that the methods and schedule are the safest way to get the work done,” Purcell said. “Additional nighttime work will be required when the gas company replaces its main on Witherspoon Street beginning next week and lasting for two weeks, for the same reasons – safety for everyone impacted.”