Rockville neighborhood bothered by water main work noise

Rockville, Md. (WJLA) - The sound of jackhammers and industrial saws has one Rockville neighborhood losing sleep.

In April of last year, WSSC started tearing-up portions of Veirs Mill Road, between Randolph Road and Twinbrook Parkway. The $3.3 million dollar project will replace a 58-year-old water main falling into disrepair. Yet residents say the project is noisy, as crews often break ground at night.

"It's really loud," Greg Campbell, who works at the Shrine of St. Jude Catholic Church said. "I'm sure the priests are not real happy about all that noise."

Every Sunday morning, parishioners, many who live close by, commiserate about the nightly symphony of buzzing and banging.

"'Bop, bop, bop, bop, bop,' all night long! The abrasive saw is buzzing real loud. I'm sure all the people at WSSC are familiar with the sound, and I don't think they'd want it outside their bedrooms," Campbell added.

WSSC says it received state approval for night work, but to be courteous, asked the contractor (Cheverly-based Civil Construction, LLC) to postpone high-decible projects after 9 p.m. Still the water company contends, it's in a catch-22.

"There's some noise associated with this project at night, and that's unfortunate, but Veirs Mill Road is a busy, heavily-traveled road...You probably don't want us to shut this road down during morning rush or evening rush to get this work done," spokeswoman Lyn Riggins said.

Even so, a handful off residents at the Park Terrace Apartments, which backs to the construction, believe the post curfew clamor is a sign of disrespect.

"It's constant, and it's loud! They don't try to muffle it or anything," resident Felton Smith remarked. "I just like my peace."

On average, WSSC, which covers the majority of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, replaces 55-miles of water main lines each year. The utility company say if it didn't, its system of pipes would become unusable, and residents would be without fresh water.

"It should be a trade-off. We can tolerate a little commotion in the evening, but there really should be a limit as to when they stop," Smith concluded.

WSSC estimates every inch of new pipe will be installed by Dec. of this year. However, it may be next spring before portions of Veirs Mill Road are re-paved.

"The good news is, when we're done with this project... people are going to have a new water main and reliable service for decades to come," Riggins concluded.