I realize that this may not be directly related to the Ridgewood Reservoir and Highland Park, but it does give one an idea of New York City's track record with regard to community concerns and keeping promises. The following is from an article in the Daily News:
News of explosives use at Jerome Park Reservoir spreads shock waves
By Bill Egbert
Monday, June 23rd 2008, 3:45 PM
Residents around the Jerome Park Reservoir say they're getting the shaft, but the city still plans to have a "blast" there this summer.
The Environmental Protection Department dropped a bomb last week at a meeting of a citizens' committee monitoring work on the controversial Croton Water Treatment Plant when it revealed plans to use explosives to excavate a shaft near the reservoir.
Though the city said blasting would be faster and cheaper than drilling, locals said it goes against DEP's promise to limit explosives use on the massive hole being blasted out of the Mosholu Golf Course for the plant.
It also departs from the project's Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, which explicitly states "there would be no surface drilling or blasting" at the reservoir.
The statement assumed the city would bore the shaft upward from the underground tunnel to the surface. The rubble then would be removed via the tunnel linking the reservoir to the filtration plant site before being trucked out.
Worried that the change in plans could mean more noise, dust and additional truck traffic in their neighborhood, residents near the reservoir now think a new impact statement should be required.
But the department contends that blasting would actually cause less noise than alternative methods.
"The primary reason DEP is raising the possibility of blasting is because the noise impacts will be far less on the community," said DEP spokesman Angel Roman.
The city plans to surround the shaft site with a 20-foot-tall, noise-reducing barrier like the one shielding blasting noise at the main construction site.
Though DEP has yet to award a contract, it also believes blasting will cost less and significantly reduce construction time.
Community activists, who have opposed putting the filtration plant in the Bronx from the outset, complain that even 16 weeks of blasting is too long, because it would extend eight weeks into the school year - with the Bronx High School of Science across the street from the shaft site.
"The real question is how those 9,000 cubic yards of debris will be removed," said Karen Argenti, a local activist. "A typical dump truck operating on city streets might carry 20 cubic yards - that's 450 truck trips."
Last Thursday's meeting didn't answer many of the community's questions about the change of plans, she said.
"They said at the end that they'd take our questions," said Argenti, "and that's all they did. They took them and left."
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