Sunrise Hwy. traffic rattles Seaford neighborhood

The section of Sunrise Highway in Seaford that The section of Sunrise Highway in Seaford that has caused nearby houses to shake when trucks drive across. (Sept. 3, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Judy Cartwright

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Judy Cartwright Judy Cartwright

Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column ...

The sounds of summer were louder this year along Sunrise Highway.

The customary hum associated with six lanes of traffic has been punctuated by shocks of noise so strong that nearby residents say their houses shake.

"It's like boom! you know?" said Sue Boden, whose Seaford home is one block removed from Sunrise.

When Sue and her husband, Ed, moved there 44 years ago, the land between their backyard and the highway was occupied by a nursery, which muffled sounds from the roadway and the parallel Long Island Rail Road tracks. When the nursery yielded to a strip of stores, the buffer of trees and shrubs disappeared.

"We've always had a little noise, so we're used to it," Sue Boden said.

But the sounds since spring have been like none they'd heard, or felt, before.

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The booms occur when trucks encounter what looks like a pavement seam that stretches across eastbound Sunrise between Route 135 and Jackson Avenue. The noise reaches a level "that's knocking people out of their beds at night. It sounds like a bomb going off," Boden said.

She sought our help in determining which agency to call about the noise. A few miles to the east Barbara Egan had similar concerns.

Egan, who has lived in a condominium community in Amityville next to Sunrise Highway for seven years, said that trucks have sounded the boom at a specific patch of roadway since spring. The noise sends a shock that vibrates her apartment.

"One day I was having a cup of coffee, on the phone with my grandson," she said, "when all of a sudden he said, 'What was that?' "

Steps are being taken to lower the volume, the state Department of Transportation told us.

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The two locations and others in similar condition on the state roadway will be "milled down" in the next several weeks, department spokeswoman Eileen Peters said, once the necessary equipment becomes available.

"According to NYSDOT's maintenance engineers, the noise at both locations is indeed being caused by large and often empty trucks that are bouncing over bumps created by minor pavement bucklings that were caused by excessive heat," Peters wrote in an emailed statement.

The road consists of "asphalt laid over the original concrete slabs," she said. "When extreme temperatures heat this concrete below, it expands . . . until it abuts the adjoining concrete slab. Then, with nowhere else to expand, the concrete lifts up and the asphalt over it rises as well."

Sue Boden said the booms have been so unnerving that, on one summer night, a guest ran out of the house fearing an earthquake was rattling Long Island. The guest was accustomed to such shaking -- she's from California.

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