Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Senja residents upset by MRT work noise

SENJA resident Anna Teo, 28, and her family of five have not had a good night's sleep since September.


That was when construction of the Downtown MRT Line started, just 200m away from her HDB block.


The housewife had bought the four-room unit on the 26th floor about seven years ago because of the view of Woodlands Road it offered.


But now, she has to keep her windows shut all the time and leave the air-conditioning on all night because construction work at the site next to Senja Road in Bukit Panjang sometimes continues late into the night.


Further pumping up the decibel level is another construction site - for the upcoming Senja Green flats. It is in the same area and goes on in the day.


'We've made six complaints to the police this month alone. We tried earplugs but the noise was just too loud and continuous,' she said. 'It's really traumatic for my family.'


Since September, 36 Senja residents have lodged complaints over the noise with the National Environment Agency (NEA). Most of the complaints focused on the MRT site because piling sometimes continues well past midnight.


Sales executive Fann Yong, 30, said: 'It's terrible at night, because you expect them to keep the noise down but it actually seems to get louder.


'We would complain to the NEA, and the noise would taper off for an hour or so... then start back up again.'


According to the authorities, the contractor in charge of works at the MRT site, Lum Chang Building Contractors, has had to carry out loud piling works past midnight because they encountered hard rock in the ground.


Said an NEA spokesman: 'As the operation needs to be completed in a single attempt for safety reasons, it had to continue till late at night.'


According to the NEA, Lum Chang was slapped with a fine for exceeding the noise limit on Dec 4.


NEA guidelines stipulate that residential buildings located more than 150m away from construction sites cannot be subjected to more than 90 decibels of noise from 7am to 7pm, and 65 decibels any time after that. Ambient or background noise in Singapore measured at night is at least 55 decibels.


Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa, who has had one or two residents each week complaining about the problem, said he is working with the Land Transport Authority and the contractor to get them to keep the noise down. 'I understand how unhappy my residents are,' he said. 'But this is a national project and the MRT will benefit them when it's built.'


The Downtown Line construction is slated to conclude in 2015, and the piling works by the end of next year.

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