Library Project

Library/Learning Commons Blasting Information

September 9, 2011

Excavation for the new Library/Learning Commons will require removal of approximately 1,800 cubic yards of rock ledge. Removal is to be done by blasting, which offers the most efficient and least disruptive means to accomplish this. The process will be very carefully monitored and should result in no danger to students, employees or neighbors. Key aspects of the blasting plan follow.

Blasting Plan

    • Blasting is scheduled to begin September 15 and continue for about four weeks.
    • The blasts are expected each weekday during the four-week period, to occur at approximately 9:40 am and then two additional blasts during the 11 am - 1 pm time period. The exact time will depend on a variety of site conditions. The number of blasts is designed to allow each to be of less power and, therefore, less disruptive to campus activity and the neighborhood.
    • The blasting will be done by Maine Drilling & Blasting, a highly experienced firm in this type of work. All regulatory requirements related to blasting will be followed.
    • A Salem Fire Department detail will be present for all blasting.
    • For each blast, explosive charges are set into pre-drilled holes, and the entire area is covered by heavy blasting mats to absorb the energy of the blast and contain debris and dust. Loose debris should not be a risk outside the blast area.
    • Each blast will be preceded by a security check and warning whistles:

    o  3 Whistles – warning 5 minutes before blast

    o  2 Whistles – warning 1 minute before blast – vehicular/pedestrian traffic stopped in blast zone

    o  1 Whistle – “All Clear” notice 2-5 minutes after blast– vehicular and pedestrian traffic resume

    • College Drive will be closed to traffic, access to Lot A and the Peabody Lot will be restricted, and pedestrians will be cleared from the area for approximately 5-10 minutes for each blast. Traffic will resume once the blasting company has sounded the “all clear” whistle.
    • Vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Lafayette Street will not be stopped during the blasts.
    • No evacuation of buildings will be necessary. Classes and other activities will proceed as scheduled.
    • The explosives required for each day’s blasts will be brought to the site in the morning. No explosives will be stored on site over night.
    • Vibration monitors have been in place since the beginning of the demolition effort and will remain for the duration of the construction project. These are in university buildings, a private residence and a Rainbow Terrace apartment. Additional monitors will be placed during the blasting phase.
    • Pre-blast surveys have been offered to all private residences within a 400-foot radius of the blasting area. All surveys requested from these residences have been completed.
    • Campus Planning staff will coordinate with the science departments relative to any preparations that may need to be made to protect scientific equipment.

Video showing example of blasting rock ledge