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Maureen McMullen, Published September 06 2013

Some Moorhead residents unhappy with pounding, bright lights of BNSF bridge construction

MOORHEAD – A metallic pounding has been ringing throughout the Fargo and Moorhead downtown areas for several days this week.

The noise comes from construction on the Fargo side of the railroad bridge that crosses the Red River between the NP/Center Avenue and Main Avenue bridges.

The pounding and bright lights that started early Wednesday morning have stirred complaints among Moorhead residents.

“I can’t sleep from the pounding,” said Steph Eddy, who lives across Main Avenue from the bridge work. “It’s literally 500 feet from my window, and I have to sleep with my TV on high to drown out the noise.”

Eddy said the loss of sleep isn’t the only expense of the cacophonous work.

The loud, pounding noise is driving her dog “crazy” with anxiety, she said.

Amy McBeth, a media representative for BNSF, which is working on the bridge, explained that the 24-hour schedule was implemented in order to complete the bridge as quickly as possible.

Without a 24-hour schedule, she estimated the project could take weeks to finish.

“We recognize that this is a big inconvenience for the community,” McBeth said, “but it’s part of a multiyear effort to renew the approach on that bridge between Fargo and Moorhead. We appreciate the community’s patience.”

The construction will replace 295 feet of the bridge. A key process of rebuilding the section is pile driving, the process of driving long rods of steal into the ground.

Pile driving is what creates the substructure of the bridge, and is also what causes the pounding.

While some residents near the construction site expressed frustration about the all-night noise, they were especially vexed by the lack of notification regarding the construction schedule.

Eddy said BNSF did similar work on the bridge last year, and gave ample notification.

“The notifications would have been really nice to have communicated to the residents like it was last year,” she said.

Delayne Karls, who lives in Riverside condos on Main Avenue in Moorhead, is optimistic about the construction, even though she needs to use noise-blocking headphones at night.

“I’m just glad they’re doing it because it makes the bridge safer and makes jobs for people and improves the infrastructure,” Karls said. “So, any repair they do is good for the economy and good for the community.”