Man takes GDOT to court over I-85 construction work

by: Nicole Carr Updated:

ATLANTA - A northeast Atlanta man is suing the Georgia Department of Transportation over noise issues tied to the Interstate 85 bridge collapse reconstruction.

The complaint was electronically filed Saturday in Fulton County Superior Court. Tyler Gaston, a resident of the Optimist Lofts complex, argues that he is sleep-deprived and prone to additional health issues due to around-the-clock construction work. His complex is within feet of the highway construction site.

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Gaston wants a temporary restraining order and injunction against GDOT, and he requests that construction cease between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on weekends. He also asks that blasting and the use of jackhammers and pile drivers cease on weekends and holidays, and between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The complaint also suggests temporary relocation assistance amid the construction, which GDOT has predicted to last through June.

Neighbors said they sympathize with Gaston.

“It’s kind of a hassle trying to get sleep and work and have a life all the way around because you’re constantly trying to deal with the bombardment of noise," said Shawn Anderson, who also lives along Piedmont Road.

Tina Marshall lives in the Optimist Lofts complex, and said she thinks GDOT’s overnight work is the right move.

She believes, however, that there should be some sort of temporary relocation assistance available for those who cannot escape the daily construction noise and travel restraints.


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“I would want some sort of compensation for not having an enjoyable living experience because that’s what you pay for in any apartment,” Marshall said.

Gaston did not  immediately respond to messages regarding the complaint. A spokeswoman for GDOT said the agency could not comment on the pending legal matter.

MORE TRAFFIC ON TUESDAY

Meanwhile, GDOT engineers observed heavier traffic congestion on Tuesday and warned drivers to remain vigilant in their commuter plans.

“We’re urging folks not to have a sense of complacency,” said state traffic engineer Andrew Heath. “We’re going to see continued traffic challenges through the extent of the 85 closure.”

Heath said they began to see traffic worsen from the Traffic Management Center on Monday afternoon. He believes drivers may have prepared for the worst on Monday morning, while underestimating the commute that’s sure to be difficult in the months to come.

Bad driving habits were also at play.

“We had some lane-blocking incidents on I-75 and State Route 400,” Heath said. “Those types of incidents absolutely compound the traffic that’s out there.”

Heath said his team is committed to traffic signal control, providing alternate route information through 511 and pre-staging HERO, or Highway Emergency Response Operators, trucks to clear common trouble spots.

He said drivers need to realize the congestion isn’t going anywhere until the construction is complete.

“You should not expect to get inside your car by yourself and make the same commute in the same amount of time as you typically do,” Heath said.