Digging up roads to install new sewer and water lines is dusty, disruptive work.
That's why city engineers plan such jobs for the daytime, when most people aren't home, and for nighttime in commercial areas, when most businesses have closed up for the day.
But when homes and businesses are right across the street from one another, somebody's going to lose -- it's just a question of whether it's sleep or customers.
That's the situation at the Montgomery Village Shopping Center, where a $2 million upgrade of 60-year-old water and sewer lines got underway yesterday. The mall in east Santa Rosa is unusual because several city streets run through it and it is in close proximity to residential neighborhoods.
City officials say they're trying to strike the right balance on the project by doing some of the construction at night and some during the day.
"We have a good plan and we've worked hard to make it palatable for everyone," said Norman Amidon, an engineer overseeing the project for the city's Public Works Department.
Argonaut Constructors of Santa Rosa began digging up Midway Drive on Monday as workers sought to identify the depth of the existing utilities. Full-scale excavation of the road between Farmer's Lane and Hahman Drive begins later this week and continues through mid-June.
That work will take place during the daytime, largely because there are fewer businesses to be impacted at that northern end of the mall, explained mall owner David Codding.
The former Westamerica Bank building is empty, Cattleman's is only open for dinner, and the new Boudin SF restaurant building is still under construction, with a scheduled opening in early July, Codding explained.
But one street south, Magowan Drive, will be torn up at night to minimize impacts on businesses. It would have been "very, very difficult" to do that work during the day without disrupting those retailers, Amidon said.
But that means homeowners on the east side of Hahman Drive will be treated to the jarring sounds of jackhammers, excavators and dump trucks right outside their homes until the wee hours of the morning. And not just for a few days. That phase goes for six weeks, from mid-June to late July. The same goes for homeowners near a 900-foot stretch of Farmers Lane set for early August.
"I'm resigned to it," said Joe Caminski, who lives at the intersection of Hahman and Montgomery drives.
Caminski, the owner of Joe Video in Bennett Valley, said he's "taking it in stride" in part because his home was built in 1949 and he knows the utilities need an upgrade.
Other streets receiving work include Hahman, Sonoma Avenue and a small section of Montgomery Drive.
Most streets are getting new 8-inch sewer mains and 12-inch water mains, with paving to repair the damage taking place in the fall. The paving will also ensure the crosswalks comply with the access requirements for disabled pedestrians, something Codding has been under a federal court order to fix for years.
Codding praised the city for how it has handled the phasing of the work and the restrictions on the contractor, such as requiring some parking spaces be preserved during construction and not allowing work on the Fridays before Mother's Day and Father's Day.
He acknowledged he wasn't as enamored by the first version of the city's plan, which called for each street to be closed for the duration of the work. But he said he voiced his concerns and felt he was heard.