I-75 construction has Hernando neighbors losing sleep

- Some neighbors in Hernando County have had it with the noise. They say all-night construction on I-75 is keeping them awake, even shaking their homes.

It's all related to a 6.5-mile, $95 million FDOT project that started last summer. Crews are currently widening Interstate 75 from four to six lanes, starting south of State Road 50 and finishing at the Hernando/Sumter County line.

Lauretta Clemons, who lives on Shadywood Lane in Brooksville, remembers her backyard 30 years ago.

"Beautiful," Clemons said. "Trees, ferns, flowers, birds and wild animals."

Now, the trees are gone and she and her neighbors are have a front row seat to the construction.

"I moved here from Fort Lauderdale and I thought this was God's country," said Doris Wendell. "Well, this isn't God's country now, with all this going on."

It's not just the sight that has neighbors losing actual sleep. It's the noise and vibration, sometimes from p.m. to a.m.

"You hear clanging and banging and booming and beep beep beep beep when they're backing up," Clemons said.

"It shakes the house when they're using the milling machines," said Hailey Maurey. "My son is in kindergarten, so it affects his schooling because he can't sleep at night. It's affecting our community here."

"The pounding was so bad, I thought someone was knocking on the wall of my house," said Cyndie Russano.

And then, they say, there's the dust.

"I have trouble breathing," Wendell said.

"The car could be washed every day and you could still write your name on it," Russano said.

FDOT spokesman John McShaffrey told FOX 13 that, when possible, crews work during the day. But if work requires lane closures, crews must work at night because there's less traffic and less likelihood of wrecks. He said heavy equipment drivers try to limit activities like backing up so alarms don't wake people up.

Why not build a noise barrier? FDOT says the noise level didn't warrant one. Neighbors disagree.

"We requested a wall and that wasn't built," Maurey said. "If you're doing to do it at night, put up a barrier so the residents in the community can sleep at night."

We checked to see if the noise violates any of Hernando County's noise ordinances. However, scheduled road construction by city, county and state agencies and authorized contractors is exempt.

While FDOT is sensitive to the noise issue, it says night work will continue. The entire project is expected to be completed in fall 2019.

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