While most contractors still rely on the clangorous pneumatic drills driven by compressed air that were invented over 150 years ago, some are experimenting with new electric jackhammers that are demonstrably quieter.While experts say it makes a difference--and reduce the "noise trauma" to workers and residents--the General Contractors Association of New York says the quieter jackhammer can't break the densest concrete and would slow construction.
City officials are close to embracing regulations that would encourage contractors and construction crews to switch to the quieter models — at least at night.
“It’s a result of an outcry from the public,” said Alyssa Preston, deputy director of air and noise policies for the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Environmental Compliance.
The Second Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments for Atlantic Yards, signed last June, requires the use of electrical-powered equipment, "whenever feasible," but does not--likely because of the timing--mention electric jackhammers.
Numerous other noise-mitigation practices are required, but the requirements are generally described as "where practicable," which leaves a lot of wiggle room. And the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project site is a tight fit.