October 24, 2012

Bombardier Transportation expansion approved

City Planning Board OK comes with conditions


Her husband, former City Councilor Harold “Rebel” Hicks, said he and his neighbors packed the room when Bombardier first announced it planned to build in the city. Many don’t attend anymore due to advancing age and a feeling they won’t be heard, he said.

“We can’t swamp you with numbers, and we can’t swamp you with facts,” Mr. Hicks said. “You don’t want to hear them.”

He said it’s a joke when Bombardier’s representatives talk about noise-reduction measures. Mr. Hicks said metal deliveries arrive in the middle of the night, and trains blow horns as they approach the property.

“They don’t give a damn,” he said. 


Bombardier plans to tear down the outbuilding where wheel assemblies are made, which is right next to its residential neighbors. That work will be performed in the new expansion and eliminate the need for forklifts to move the units from one building to the other, officials said.

Aaron Ovios of engineering firm Robert M. Sutherland said the expansion increases the distance from its neighbors and should improve the existing conditions.

The 8-foot-tall fence included as a condition of Planning Board approval must be made of sound-dampening materials to lessen noise at the surrounding properties. Bombardier also needs to establish a liaison to listen to complaints, the Planning Board decreed.

The project received $2.5 million in funding from Empire State Development as part of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s five-year Strategic Plan. 

Bombardier had previously obtained variances from the City Zoning Board of Appeals for excess height of the building and fencing. The Common Council granted an easement that will allow Bombardier to build a new access road to the western side of the property from Main Mill Street.

Bombardier Plant Manager Alain Aumiais said last week that the expansion will be done in phases and should be complete by the end of 2013.

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