Loud noise is a nuisance

To the editor:

Columbia Gas Company has been working on replacing gas lines along Lorain Street for over a month now. Since it’s a major east-west route through town, you’ll likely have noticed frequent traffic hold-ups as machine operators move gravel, soil, and broken sidewalks back and forth between work sites.

What you may not have noticed, unless you live in the area, is the noise. Constant noise, all day long — small earth movers shuttling back and forth, backing beeps, heavy trucks trundling past, the deep rumbling of new piles of materials. And worst of all, huge vacuum machines sucking water out of ditches after heavy spring rains.

It often starts at 7:30 a.m. and lasts until at least 6 p.m. Every weekday. All. Day. Long. Until August.

It’s enough to drive any resident crazy. But it’s also a problem for many home businesses and freelance workers who need a quiet space to get their work done.

Earlier stories by the Oberlin News-Tribune made it clear that affected residents would be informed a few days in advance of work in front of their homes.

What those stories didn’t note was that Columbia Gas Company would not be notifying residents about the noise — or offer any solutions.

I’m a nationally-published freelance public radio journalist and my home studio depends on quiet. I usually get it. These days, quiet is a thing of the past.

Workers wear hearing protection. Residents don’t. Nor is there any way to insulate our homes against this constant outdoor noise.

I don’t object to replacement gas lines. I do object to the lack of thought about noise abatement. I’m hoping Oberlin city council will recognize this problem and require that Columbia Gas give all residents in affected areas regular updates on where and when loud noises will occur so that we have time to choose other venues for our work.

Karen Schaefer