Sleepless in Buckhead: Man suing to halt noisy overnight I-85 repairs

12:22 p.m Wednesday, April 12, 2017
April 7, 2017 Atlanta: Officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation held a news conference Friday, April 7, 2017 outlining how they will replace a span of the I-85 bridge in Atlanta.  Crews are working around the clock to complete the work by June 15. JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM

A Buckhead man says reconstructing a portion of I-85 is keeping him up at night. Tyler Gaston says he’s sleep deprived because the noise is so loud, and he’d like crews to halt overnight work.

In a handwritten complaint filed in Fulton County Superior Court against the Georgia Department of Transportation, Gaston seeks for construction work to be halted between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on weekends.

“The lack of sleep causes numerous issues for a human,” the filing states. “Chronic sleep loss places me at risk for heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and stroke, contribute to symptoms of depression, impairs my ability to focus at work.”

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Gaston, who lives in the Optimist Lofts on Piedmont Road near I-85, did not return respond to a message Tuesday to discuss his filing. A GDOT spokeswoman declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

A 39-year-old homeless man has been charged with setting the fire that led to the overpass collapse on March 30. Basil Eleby allegedly lit an upholstered chair on fire which, in turn, ignited plastic conduit and other construction material that GDOT had stored under the bridge.

Since the collapse, crews have worked around the clock to clear the debris and rebuild the portion of the interstate. GDOT expects to have repairs completed in June.

Until that happens, Gaston said he has asked the Governor’s office, Red Cross, GEMA, GDOT, Mayor Kasim Reed and a city council member for financial help to relocate, but all have declined.

“The area was declared a disaster by the Governor, and without relief by the court, immediate and irreparable injury is occurring and will continue to occur,” Gaston states in the complaint.

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Sen. David Perdue toured the I-85 bridge collapse site with GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry. Video by John Spink/AJC

Neighbors told Channel 2 Action News 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.

But Tina Marshall, who also lives in the Optimist Lofts complex, said she thinks the overnight work is the right move.

She told Channel 2 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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