CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s Day 25 of the “stay at home” order in Illinois; close to four weeks confined inside, with some around the city forced to listen to constant construction.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory looks into the frustrating problem, and asks how a recent stop-work order by the city might affect the noise.READ MORE: Deaths Of Wild Swans Found Around Wolf Lake Blamed On Parasites
Dr. Christine Remmers, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University, said there have been some efforts to try to reduce the construction noise at her condo building, but it’s still enough to regularly disrupt her work at home.
“It’s been really hard to work. When I have meetings, I can’t really participate in them, because no one wants to listen to this on the other end,” Remmers said.
It’s more than annoying. Remmers said she worries about the daily hours-long exposure to these sounds.
“There’s evidence that environmental noise has been linked with increased incidents of anxiety and depression,” she said.
The association told Remmers the façade work at her building on Lake Shore Drive is necessary to fix water damage. A Monday email response to her from the Board said in part “We have consulted with City of Chicago officials and with our attorneys to make sure that our decision is appropriate and does not involve undue risk to residents. And we continue to seek ways to limit and reduce any possible risks as well as inconvenience to residents.”
With so many places closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people living near noisy construction can’t easily escape, unless you take a risk like Steve Dishler.
“I’ve been forced to go into work,” he said.
Dishler recorded audio of the construction he said has prevented his concentration at Belmont Tower Apartments.
“Drilling going on the façade of the building, and hammering when they’re trying to get the tiles off,” he said.READ MORE: Firefighters Rescue Person Hanging From Window Of Burning Building In West Pullman
He emailed CBS 2 about his concerns last month, so has been dealing with the problem for a while.
Ald. Tom Tunney’s office in the 44th Ward told Dishler the construction wasn’t violating any noise ordinances, so there’s not much the alderman can do.
The Chicago Department of Buildings announced this weekend that was halting all non-emergency demolition work, after the implosion of a smokestack in Little Village blanketed the neighborhood in dusty.
But what about façade work and in-unit renovations?
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, “let’s just push pause for now.”
“Let’s figure out what’s in the pipeline, and we’ll make a call on a case by case basis,” she said.
Consider the case of a cancer patient who lives in the building once known as the John Hancock Center. He said he’s especially worried about workers coming in and out of condos undergoing rehab work. What if they’re carrying COVID-19?
And what about all the dust flying around the city from other projects when we’re in the middle of respiratory crisis?
Lightfoot said she does not see halting all construction as a realistic solution.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Illinois: Lowest Daily Coronavirus Case Count And Infection Rate In More Than Six Weeks
A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings clarified the stop-work order on non-emergency demolitions applies to exterior structures but not jobs like facade repair. Condominium associations an individually choose whether to place a moratorium on construction work..