Daily CentrePointe blasting expected to affect downtown traffic

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comMarch 6, 2014 

Lexington officials said blasting will begin later this month at the CentrePointe development site in downtown Lexington, affecting traffic for the next several weeks.

Blasting is scheduled to begin March 17, a Monday, and there will be one blast a day at 10 a.m., five to six days a week, officials said.

The long-delayed project will include an underground parking garage, an office complex, retail space, an apartment building and a hotel, CentrePointe developers have said.

The CentrePointe development, which consists of a block bounded by Main, Vine, Upper and Limestone streets, received permits for lane closings and grading in December. The Webb Companies, CentrePointe's developers, acquired a city permit that allowed limited blasting. The developers had to get permission from the state before blasting could occur.

Crews had to remove 12 feet of soil before blasting could begin. Blasting is necessary for construction on the 700-space underground parking garage.

Precision Blasting will blast about 2,000 cubic yards of rock a day.

Employees from Precision Blasting and Gorman Construction have conducted a pre-blast survey of nearby property and have met with city and state officials.

Dudley Webb, of the Webb Companies, said the blast will not be earth-shaking.

"It will be more like a thump," Webb said. The blasting company uses a cap-like device to dampen the sound. Webb said similar blasting techniques were used to build the Hilton and the Fifth Third Bank buildings downtown.

A Lexington police officer will be at the site before and during the time of blasting. In the event that a blast must be aborted, traffic will be released and the reason will be investigated. Once the issue is resolved, the blasting will begin again with a 5-minute warning.

Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said the police department's traffic unit is working with the construction company, and "they will be responsible for stopping traffic, with our supervision."

At least one officer will be there in case someone "is not complying" and "we'll be able to stop that person from going into the blast zone," she said. Roberts said there will be "a very minimal mid-morning traffic impact" six days each week.

Traffic will be shut down five minutes before the blasting and can resume "after the blast and the dust literally clears."

There will be no blasting on days when the city has events or festivals, Roberts said. No blasting will occur during the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Boys' Sweet Sixteen basketball tournament, March 19 to 23 at Rupp Arena, according to a news release.

In agreement with state law, a horn notification system will sound and traffic will be shut down five minutes before the blast. Each stoppage is expected to last 5 to 10 minutes.

Pedestrian and vehicle traffic will be stopped briefly on four downtown streets around the CentrePointe block: Main Street at Limestone, Upper Street at Main Street, Vine Street at Upper Street, and Limestone at Vine Street.

On Saturday, crews will test the traffic shutdown.

Residents who live, work or frequently visit downtown Lexington are encouraged to sign up for electronic notifications and avoid the area during the blasts. Residents also can sign up for text message alerts by texting BLASTING to 46786, or by going to Lexingtonky.gov/blasting. Standard data and text messaging rates apply.

Beth Musgrave: (859) 231-3205. Twitter: @HLCityhall.

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