- Homeowners living near the $1.5 billion Amazon Air hub project at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in Hebron, Kentucky, have filed a lawsuit against general contractor Whiting-Turner Kokosing JV for alleged damages that blasting and other earthwork activity caused to their homes. The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status on behalf of those living within a mile of the project.
- The lawsuit claims that the JV has been aware of the conditions created by their subcontractors — i.e. excessive dust from earthwork operations, heavy equipment noise, blasting noise and vibrations — but has failed to "monitor and control" those subcontractors properly. Because of subcontractors' actions, the plaintiffs claim they have suffered from these nuisance conditions, have not been able to use and enjoy their properties, and have seen their property values drop.
- The plaintiffs claim that the JV has acted "in a grossly negligent manner with reckless indifference for the rights of the surrounding property owners." The lawsuit, which requested a jury trial, is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.
Crews broke ground on the new CVG hub in May 2019. The project, which will help Amazon fulfill orders faster and more efficiently, will include a ramp tower, sorting facilities and space for up to 100 airplanes. The facility is scheduled for completion next year and is part of the $8 billion that Amazon has invested in Kentucky during the last 20 years. Amazon has not only put money into fulfillment warehouses, customer service centers and air cargo facilities but Whole Foods stores as well.
Construction Dive reached out to a representative of Whiting-Turner Kokosing JV for comment but did not receive a response as of the time of publication.
An attorney for the plaintiffs, Philip Taliaferro, told ABC 9 WCPO in Cincinnati that the lawsuit was a "last resort" after Amazon and the JV ignored complaints about the noise and other nuisances generated from the site.
While the issue hasn't risen to the level of a lawsuit, those living near the site of Amazon's second North American headquarters (HQ2), which is under construction in Virginia, want crews to stop piledriving operations until the COVID-19 pandemic is over and there will be fewer people home all day subject to the noise.
Libby Garvey, chair of the Arlington County (Virginia) Board, posted an answer to the residents on their petition website and told them the county had no authority to stop construction because of noise. However, she let the petitioners know that they could report any observed violations of state social distancing requirements they observed at the project site to the Virginia Department of Labor.
Earlier this year, 46-year-old Loren Shoemake, an employee of subcontractor Columbus Steel Erectors, died after suffering a blunt force trauma while working at the CVG project. OSHA lists its inspection into the accident as open.