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Sleepless in Great Neck is real-life drama for residents who live near gas main project

The construction work in Great Neck is being

The construction work in Great Neck is being done by National Grid, which is replacing a 1.3-mile-long natural gas main under Middle Neck Road that dates to the 1940s. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

A National Grid gas main replacement in Great Neck has become a weekslong headache for residents living along the route as drilling noises and artificial light at night have awakened babies and made it difficult for families to get rest, affected residents said.

"They are just doing the work at night without any regard to anybody sleeping or … babies crying," said Jonathan Gad, a father of two young daughters. "Everyone’s upset. … They just handled it pretty poorly."

Residents who live in buildings on or adjacent to Middle Neck Road described large floodlights shining through their bedroom windows and incessant noises that lasted for hours in recent weeks as construction sometimes continued into the overnight hours.

The light was so bright that Gad said his 2-year-old daughter once woke up and asked to go outside because she mistook it for daylight.

The construction work is for National Grid to replace a 1.3-mile-long natural gas main under Middle Neck Road that dates to the 1940s, spokeswoman Wendy Ladd said.

"We just apologize for any inconvenience," she said. "We know night work is extremely inconvenient, especially for people who are working from home. We are always looking for ways to do our job better. But it’s important main work that we had to get done."

Ladd said the work is on schedule, that the gas main installation began last July and that the overnight work didn’t start until June 6.

To some of the residents, the apology is too little, too late.

"An apology without doing anything to remedy the situation is not an apology," said Gad, who is also the president of the board of directors for his 50-unit co-op building on Wooleys Lane.

Residents questioned why the work couldn’t be done during the day, to which National Grid said Nassau County had asked it to do night work to minimize traffic delays on the busy thoroughfare. County spokeswoman Christine Geed did not respond to requests for comment.

"This was the only reasonable way to accomplish the task at hand," Brandon Lynch, a National Grid project manager, wrote to Gad in an email last week. "… Middle Neck Rd is extremely busy in daytime hours, and would cause much more chaos if work was completed then."

Even so, residents said the company could at least have notified them beforehand so they could look for alternative solutions.

"If there’s work being done at midnight, especially jackhammering and floodlights turning up the street, that’s really disturbing activities and it’s just not right," said Jason Idjadi, who lives in the same building as Gad. "There should be fair warning."

Ladd said the company notified the customers along the route last July of the main replacement and later in April the tie-in work to connect building service lines to the main. But she acknowledged that neither notice mentioned night work.

"That’s where we apologize. Customers should’ve been notified," she said. "And we are looking to improve that in the future."

Ladd said final restoration work that follows the main replacement is scheduled to be complete by the end of this week.

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