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2018 Update #22

Test Blast Confirmed for 1 PM Wednesday; No Impact for Most

Just a brief note to confirm that Maine Drilling & Blasting will conduct a test blast in Printer’s Alley on Wednesday. The test is scheduled for 1 PM.

As a reminder, the purpose of this test blast is to level the working area in Printer’s Alley while testing the bedrock that must be removed to construct the new drainage system.

For most the test blast will pass unnoticed tomorrow. Those who are most directly affected have been thoroughly briefed on what to expect.

If you plan to be downtown tomorrow around 1 PM, here are some things to know. (This repeats information I shared yesterday but I thought it worth restating.)

What the Whistles Mean

A whistle warning sequence will be sounded prior to commencement of the blast to alert those in the area that a blast is imminent. Here’s what that sequence signals:

4 whistles = we’re 20 minutes out from the blast

3 whistles = 5 minutes to go

2 whistles = 1 minute to go

1 whistle = All clear

Impact on Downtown Pedestrians and Traffic

Maine D&B will have 18 individuals in reflective vests and hard hats posted at key points around a perimeter leading into Printer’s Alley to ensure that no one enters the blasting area once the 2-minute countdown has begun. For example, if you’re walking up Main Street to the Post Office or from Marble Works Pharmacy to Main Street you’ll be asked to wait a few minutes until the blast has taken place.

At the same time, flaggers will briefly halt traffic on Main Street between Merchants Row and Seymour Street during the blasting event. If an emergency responder needs to get through during this time, the test blast will be stopped and then restarted.

The entire team monitoring pedestrian and traffic flow will be in radio contact with one another. If there is any compromise of the blast perimeter, the blast will be called off.

As I mentioned yesterday, the impact of ground vibrations from the blast on these buildings will be closely monitored in real time via seismograph machines and other devices to ensure that ground vibrations do not exceed established limits that could potentially cause damage.

I’m told that the blast itself takes place in a split second. Large blast mats currently sitting alongside the rail line in the Marble Works will cover the blast area.

That’s all for today. See you downtown.

Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.

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