By Julie Shapiro
TRIBECA — Just a few months into a colossal water main project on Hudson Street that will take years to complete, local residents have had enough.
At a community meeting Thursday night, residents said the project has worn out its welcome with parking obstructions, unsightly barriers and noisy work that wakes them up at 7 a.m.
"It’s like living in prison," said Joan Greenberg, 62, who lives on Hudson Street. "Our quality of life is hideous. The idea that it’s going to be like this for five-and-a-half years — I could be dead by the time you’re done."
The purpose of the project, which is expected to last through winter 2015, is to connect TriBeCa’s water mains to a massive third water tunnel the city has been building for decades to replace the city's two existing water tunnels.
"This is almost the biggest [Department of Design and Construction] project ever done," said Shane Ojar, a deputy director at DDC, speaking at Thursday’s Community Board 1 meeting. "Our goal is to try to minimize the impact on the community."
But several residents in the audience at the meeting immediately began shouting over him.
"What have you done to try to accommodate people who live here besides talk?" asked Everett Ware, who lives on Hudson Street. "You have to treat this the way you want your own home treated. This is insanity."
Several residents complained about the loud early-morning and nighttime work, which includes sawing through pipes and dropping metal plates on the ground.
Richard Zetterlund, an associate commissioner at DDC, said he would make sure the project is not exceeding the legal limit of 90 decibels, which is louder than a typical city street (75 to 80 decibels) but quieter than an airport (110 decibels).
Zetterlund added that he would instruct the contractor not to drop metal plates and to try to avoid noisy work before 8 a.m.
The first, three-year phase of the project runs along Hudson Street from Laight Street down to North Moore Street and required the city to close an entrance to the Holland Tunnel. This phase will also include several side streets and a six-month stint on West Street.
The second, two-and-a-half-year phase of the project will continue along Hudson Street down to Worth Street, including side streets.
In addition to noise, other inconveniences include water shutoffs, increased traffic, the loss of an M20 bus stop and an absence of parking and loading spaces, residents said.
Camille Meyer, 43, owner of TriBeCa MedSpa on Hudson Street, said she was worried about losing business because pedestrians can’t see her storefront through the construction barriers.
"Thank God I only own a business here and can escape," she said Thursday. "We feel like we’re not being heard."
After several seniors expressed concern about ambulances having access to Hudson Street, Zetterlund said he would ask the FDNY to review the configuration to make sure it is safe.
DDC officials also promised to look into moving some of the construction storage off of Hudson Street, to share the burden with surrounding blocks.
As the meeting wound down, Bruce Nelson, a resident of 124 Hudson St., reminded the city officials that it’s in their interest to improve residents’ quality of life.
"This is going to go on for a long time," Nelson said. "If we can get these issues solved now, it’s going to spare a lot of aggravation for everyone."
Anyone with questions or concerns about the Hudson Street project can contact Jamie Corssen, the community liaison, at 212-226-1380 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.