2018 Update #24

Second Blast Continues Progress; Third Blast Scheduled for Friday 11 AM

 

We’ve now got two blasts under our belt.

 

Thursday’s 1:30 detonation continued the step-at-a-time process of removing bedrock in Printer’s Alley to create a new drainage system for central downtown and the rail corridor.

 

Maine D&B was pleased with the technical results of the blast.  You can see the fractured bedrock starting to be excavated in the photo below, taken about an hour post-blast.

 

The blast protocol was executed without incident and, from what I observed from my station in the Village Green, with minimal disruption downtown.  Total time from when we shut down pedestrians and traffic in central downtown (two whistles) to the “all clear” (one long whistle)  was less than five minutes.

 

What Buildings Feel, What We Feel

To a person, everyone I spoke to afterwards who works on Main Street and Merchants Row had the same thing to say:  “This was bigger than yesterday’s blast.  I felt this one.”

 

When I queried Maine D&B’s blast engineer about this, he explained to me that buildings are susceptible to low-frequency vibrations.  We humans are more sensitive to high-frequency vibrations.  The second blast was intentionally set for a slightly longer duration to achieve a higher frequency to ensure protection of our historic buildings downtown.  It wasn’t “bigger” in terms of the charge but we perceived it to be bigger.  (Caveat:  that’s an English major’s interpretation of the technical science behind what’s taking place in Printer’s Alley.)

 

Before wrapping up the week, and in order to get out ahead of Friday afternoon’s forecast thunderstorms, Maine D&B will conduct a third blast on Friday at 11 AM.

 

What’s On Tap Next Week

It looks like June will settle into a predictable pattern of blasting in Printer’s Alley, with 3-4 successive days of blasting followed by 1-2 days of excavating the fractured bedrock.

 

Thus early next week we’ll probably see another blast or two followed by a day or two of clearing the site to begin the next phase.  It’ll take a good month to work our way down 38 feet to the bottom of the planned launch pit.  I’ll be updating you daily as needed during this period so you know what to expect downtown.

 

June will also see construction activity expand outside Printer’s Alley, starting next week with construction of the temporary access road that will run under Cross Street along Otter Creek to provide access to the Battell parking lot during Summer 2020.  This is about a two-week project and should get underway on Monday, June 4.

 

Work will also begin in Triangle Park and in the Marble Works’ Riverfront Park in June.  I’ll report out the specifics there when I know the timing.

 

Join the Discussion Next Tuesday, June 5

If you’re interested in the future of Triangle Park and Printer’s Alley, you’ll want to mark your calendar for Tuesday, June 5, 6:30 PM at the Town Offices.  We’ll be holding the first of three public meetings to talk about what’s on the drawing board and what’s still to be planned.

 

That’s all for today.  See you downtown.

 

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

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