The Innerbelt Bridge project team recently announced that beginning after November 16, crews will begin nearly round-the-clock pile-driving at Pier 11 in the industrial flats region of downtown Cleveland.  Here are some FAQs related to that operation.
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 
Q: Why does this have to be done at night?
A: The Cleveland area has received 60 inches of rain in 2011. The contractor team is very familiar with Cleveland winters, so they know to expect winter days when some or all of their construction activities will not be possible. They have scheduled this period of double shift work on the pile driving to make sure their work stays on schedule. The structural steel will begin to arrive early in March 2012. The contractor is making extra efforts now to ensure they can begin setting bridge steel when it arrives.  Early in the project planning process, ODOT worked with the City of Cleveland to be granted an exception to the City’s noise ordinance, so that this important work in the industrial valley locations could take place during non-typical work hours.  
 
Q: Why can’t this continue during the day like it has been?
A: Pier 11 is the last MAJOR pier on the east bank that has not completed pile driving. It is important that all of the piers on the east bank be ready for the structural steel installation, on schedule. Pile driving will continue during the day at other piers, on both sides of the river.  
 
Q: Does this mean the project is behind schedule?
A: No.  Even with the wettest year in Cleveland history, the project remains on-schedule and the new westbound bridge is expected to be open to traffic during the fall of 2013.  Completing pile driving at this location makes it possible to complete other work that CAN be done during winter weather.
 
Q: What can residents do to mitigate noise?
A: Some residents may recall a weekend of night-time pile driving which took place on Pier 7 (between W. 3rd Street and the Cuyahoga River) in late September.  This was loud, and residents did notice.  While pile driving at Pier 11 will be noticeable, it is likely that the noise will be much less intrusive as this pier is about a quarter of a mile east of Pier 7 – twice the distance away. Residents are more likely to have their windows closed during this work; that will be helpful.  Ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones are another helpful option, particularly for residents very near the river valley.  Relocating to interior rooms of the home will reduce the audible noise.  Keeping curtains closed or using wall-hangings and laying rugs may also be helpful in absorbing unwanted noise.   
 
Q: Will there be constant pounding?
A: No.  There will be times when workers will be welding the pile together, performing mechanical checks of equipment and changing operators.  During these times, noise from the operation will be notably less.