Some residents on Dewdney Avenue in Regina are calling for compensation from the city after they claim vibrations from heavy truck traffic over the years have caused cracks in their homes.
Resident Marianna Brown moved to her corner lot on Dewdney Avenue in 1974 but it wasn’t until 2009, when the province established the Global Transportation Hub just west of the city, that she says things started to change.
“(Things) mostly changed once they built the GTH,” Brown said. “That’s when there was a dramatic, really difficult change.”
She says within a couple of years, semi-trailers and large trucks began rumbling down her street as Dewdney Avenue became the shortest route to the GTH.
In fact, on any given week around 4,800 trucks make their way through the facility, said Kelly Brossart, director of communications and marketing for the GTH.
“My floors were actually heaving when the trucks went by,” Brown said. “When I had friends over, they would be astonished and say ‘Oh my god,’ and the glassware in my cupboards rattled. It was just dreadful.”
READ MORE: Global Transportation Hub opens in Regina
A letter obtained by Global News showed the city received at least 15 complaints from residents between 2010 and 2012.
“You could feel (the vibrations),” another resident, Jan Weisgerber, said. “You could feel it on the floor, you could feel it in the kitchen, you could feel it in the bathroom.”
Eventually, Brown says a group of residents got together and petitioned the city to conduct vibration tests along the street.
“We were starting to congregate as a group to hold the city responsible,” Brown said. “I was phoning, I was complaining — so were my neighbours. They finally came out and did the tests.”
In 2011 and 2012, the city conducted vibration tests along the 5000, 6000 and 7000 blocks of Dewdney Avenue. While the results did not show a direct link between vibrations and structural damage, the city did acknowledge continuous vibrations could aggravate existing defects, with heavy traffic further exacerbating the situation.
A letter from city operations officials in 2012 stated: “It is possible for continuous low-level vibrations to aggravate an existing defective condition, such as a cracked foundation.”
In a subsequent letter, officials stated: “Due to soil and climate conditions that exist in Regina, problems do develop as a result of the contraction and expansion of the soil in relation to its moisture content. Heavy traffic can further exacerbate this situation.”
“What do we do about this? We’re frustrated,” a third resident, Gary Putz, said. “We phone the police, we phone the city and they do nothing.”
It’s those vibrations, residents say, that have caused cracks in their foundations, along the walls and on the ceiling.
“You talk to the neighbours, you talk to the people from blocks either way, and definitely there’s a concern along the way so it’s not just one person; it’s a whole bunch,” Weisgerber said.
In 2015, the city banned heavy trucks from Dewdney Avenue, with the exception of pickups and in-city deliveries. While officials say it’s cut down traffic by 90 per cent, residents say that’s not the case.
“Thirty-five trucks went by; I counted the one day,” Putz said.
The city also resurfaced parts of Dewdney Avenue in 2014 and 2016. While Brown says it did help lessen the intensity of the vibrations, over the years things have gotten worse.
“I have a crack along the outside of my house,” Brown said. “I’m going to have to take down the walls and see if there’s any damage in my basement. If there is, that’s extensive. To fix a creaking floor costs me a lot of money.”
Now the residents want compensation from the city to fix the damage they say is caused by the heavy truck traffic.
“I’ve lived here since 1974, and there was no problem until the trucks started going by. That’s one heck of a coincidence — except that it’s not,” Brown said.
The city declined to comment but did say the completion of the bypass next year will provide a permanent solution. Residents say all they’ll be left with is permanent damage.