Residents along the West Gate Tunnel corridor have been relocated to Quest apartments due to noise from hydroblasting works.
Some households have been loaned “white noise machines” in a bid to drown out night works described as sounding like “metal scraping on metal”.
Star Weekly has seen correspondence between multiple residents and the West Gate Tunnel Project (WGTP), with some complainants stating they were undergoing counselling due to the noise affecting their mental health.
South Kingsville resident Julie Richards has been relocated twice in the past month to Quest apartments at Williamstown North.
In correspondence to the WGTP, Ms Richards stated the sleep disturbance could have serious consequences for her partner whose work involved implementing stage three restrictions under the COVID-19 state of emergency.
“Lack of sleep can lead to serious consequences and likelihood of accidents given she operates machinery and has been responsible for removing people from public places whilst COVID restrictions have been in place,” Ms Richards stated.
“I also work in local laws and regulatory/legislation matters so need to be alert to do my job.”
In another email to the WGTP on Tuesday last week, Ms Richards stated: “I again report the works last night as loud enough that they are disrupting my sleep and affecting my mental health, in this already stressful time. I’m attending counselling tomorrow to deal with this disruption to my life.”
A WGTP representative replied that “my colleague will leave a white noise machine on your door step within the hour”.
“It’s like, you’ve got to be kidding that I’m going to sleep with that and that’s going to be any better,” Ms Richards said.
The WGTP has scaled back works from going overnight to finishing at midnight.
However, Ms Richards said they should be finished earlier, particularly as traffic was down because of more people staying home.
“They’ve said to us that the reason they’re doing the works at night is because they need to close lanes on the bridge and we’ve just said that’s a joke because COVID’s happening, traffic’s down by 60 per cent, you could start these works at 5pm and be done by 10pm.”
Another period of work is scheduled to take place for one week during June.
A WGTP spokesperson said a number of households had taken up “respite options”.
“We know that noisy night works can be disruptive and have been working closely with local residents to address their concerns and finish off the work as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.
“This includes offering a range of respite options, including temporary relocation, which a number of households have taken up.
“In response to community feedback, and with current coronavirus restrictions lowering the number of cars on the road, works have started earlier in the evening and finished earlier to reduce the noise impact on residents
“We appreciate the patience of the local community while we carry out this essential work to widen the West Gate Freeway.”
The spokesperson said works could not be fully completed during the day, as much of the freeway and freight railway lane below needed to be closed.
‘IT’S A HORRIBLE ENVIRONMENT’
A Spotswood mother of two toddlers is among multiple residents along the Westgate Tunnel corridor who have been given hotel accommodation because of noise.
Carla Frost was previously relocated by the West Gate Tunnel Project into Quest apartments but is currently at home.
“Previously, there was probably about 10 metres between us and the freeway wall,” she said.
“Now, because they’ve widened the freeway, they’ve moved the wall within a metre of our boundary.
“We’ve experienced, since the project began really, constant noise and disruption at all hours of the day and night.
“I’ve got two young kids – a one year old and a two year old. All of our sleep has been severely affected by it, and my own mental health has been difficult because of it.”
Ms Frost said her family could feel the vibrations and the house had “clearly moved”.
She said it was a “big disruption” to go into temporary hotel accommodation with two young girls.
“We’ve been pushing for relocation and not just this couple of nights here and there,” she said.
“I want long-term relocation while the project is going on and somewhere that’s stable and good for my own mental health, too.
“On a bigger scale, we’re pushing for the state government to voluntarily purchase [our] properties.
“We’re never going to be able to sell it, we’re never going to able to rent it.
“It wouldn’t even feel right to rent it to someone at the moment. It’s a horrible environment to move into.”