ORIGINAL WEDNESDAY NOTE: If you’re anywhere within earshot of West Seattle’s Terminal 5 on Friday – you might hear this. The alert is from Peter McGraw at the Port of Seattle:
As you know, the Port of Seattle is in the process of making Terminal 5 ‘big ship ready.’ This includes a number of steps, including dredging and strengthening the dock for larger cranes, which requires installing new piles while we undergo our environmental impact statement (EIS).
Before any of this happens, we need to run a number of tests, which includes using what is called a rapid load test.
The first rapid load testing of piles as part of the design and permitting process for the Terminal 5 Improvements Project is expected to occur around mid-day on Friday, Jan. 22. An additional test may take place on Monday, Jan. 26.
The tests sound like a half-second cannon shot. The sound can be as loud as 145 decibels. A total of nine rapid load tests will occur between January and the end of March, with no more than one test occurring per day.
The test results may help reduce the number of piles required and the depth of pile installation, which in-turn would reduce noise associated with pile-driving during construction.
All tests will take place Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in compliance with the City of Seattle Noise Ordinance.
How loud is 145 decibels? On this list of “decibel equivalents,” that’s just below “Formula 1 race car full-throttle drive-by.”
FRIDAY UPDATE: We asked port spokesperson Peter McGraw if they have a time estimate – he says the latest is “between 12 and 12:30 pm.”
FOLLOWUP: New update, 12:50ish.