TERMINAL 5: For everyone who’s asked about the noise

This week we’ve heard from several people wondering about noisy work at Terminal 5, most mentioning “pile-driving.” While the north–berth modernization work is complete and, as we’ve been reporting, the berth is in service, the south berth is now under construction. Our archives showed the window for “in-water” work – a deadline set to minimize fish impacts – is February 15th. We asked Northwest Seaport Alliance spokesperson Melanie Stambaugh for an update on the work and whether that deadline will be extended again this year. Here’s her response:

The questions regarding noise could be related to a combination of terminal operations and construction. The only new activity this week is dredging, while all other construction work has been underway at the same pace since September.

Yes, the in-water work window typically ends 2/15. We have applied for an extension to 2/28 as an effort to reduce any other in-water work being needed at a later time. We will abide by our permits and permissions from the appropriate regulatory authorities and only continue in-water work if the extension is granted.

For the South berth construction, landside work is expected to continue all year. The landside pile driving is complete, and only dock construction remains.

Meanwhile, ships continue to call at the newly opened north berth – here’s our latest update.

9 Replies to "TERMINAL 5: For everyone who's asked about the noise"

  • Pete January 26, 2022 (5:06 pm)

    As someone who lives in the closest neighborhood to T5 it is a constant noise that has been going on for an eternity it seems. The pile driving never ends it seems. Some days it is more noticeable than others, but we will not be sad when it finally comes to an end.

  • StupidInSeattle January 26, 2022 (6:38 pm)

    The noise we hear at Pigeon Point is definitely pile driving.  Port of Seattle rep doesn’t sound fully aware of what is going on.  

  • sam-c January 26, 2022 (7:40 pm)

    Definitely heard it all  day- does it go on after hours?

  • drunw January 26, 2022 (8:22 pm)

    So sorry to hear about the noise issues for you neighbors. Was running in Jack Block today and there were a dozen or so generator type pieces of equipment operating near the pathway inside the T5 fence (adjacent to where the stairs near the closed pier meet the upper path). Does anyone know if those are related to the work that is being done or if that is something that is just part of T5 being operational and we should expect to be permanent? The exhaust and noise from them was a surprise – I’ve definitely gotten spoiled with the park being so quiet while T5 was closed. 

  • WS enviromentalist January 26, 2022 (8:56 pm)

    Terminal 5 sits in an inversion zone.  Cold and wet winter weather amplifies sounds bouncing off of moisture heavy air.  And, the inversion prevents the exchange of fresh air with diesel exhaust filled air.  The environmental impact for those of us who live near T5, especially at low elevations, will be significant.  The aurguement of NIMBY that lead up to T5 was poo pooed because of the financial benefits for the Greater Puget Sound area.  Soon, the parking lot that covers the west side of T5 (a barrier installed to contain the Superfund debris) will be filled with diesel trucks awaiting their trailer pick-ups.  The diesel train engines will be running 24 hours a day with the sounds of freight cars coupling and engine horns blaring all hours of the day and night.  The sounds will migrate up the east and south hillsides so that all 67,000 residents of WS will effected with the calmer and smog filled.  This is our lives from here on out.

    • Jort January 26, 2022 (9:21 pm)

      It is so, so Seattle to think that “sounds” are a greater environmental concern than the actual, documented environmental destruction of personal automobiles. The energy that goes into things like “train sounds” compared to the the environmental, financial and life-altering damage of driving is staggering.

      • Joe Z January 27, 2022 (7:48 am)

        I can’t remember exactly what they reported in the EIS but the expected increase in particulate pollution was significant. They did a very detailed modeling study on it. Obviously it’s going to be even higher on inversion days. It was never going to change decision to do the modernization project or not but the data is out there and might be useful to expedite a transition to electric trunks at some point. The noise…whatever, as soon as the bridge reopens it will be drowned out by cars. And trains result in way lower emissions and impacts than diesel trucks. 

        • Pete January 27, 2022 (8:48 am)

          Joe come live down here and you will see that your statement about the noise will be drowned out by the cars on the bridge is just pure bull cocky….The train noise is 24/7 and has been a source of complaint for years. 

          • Joe Z January 30, 2022 (6:20 pm)

            I love the sound of the train, especially at night. I live close to Nucor. 

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