Power restored for 1,100 customers affected by blasting at Lexington's CentrePointe

jwarren@herald-leader.comMay 19, 2014 

A construction blast at CentrePointe that apparently triggered a power outage in downtown Lexington on Monday morning was the last major explosion planned at the site, its developer says.

"The good news is that's the last blast," Dudley Webb said Monday afternoon. "It really was a minor blast in terms of the others that have taken place down there. It's just one of those things, I guess."

Meanwhile, Dick Brown, spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, said no violations were written against the blasting company as a result of Monday's explosion.

A state inspector on the scene when the explosive charge went off agreed that resulting vibrations could have affected some breakers at a KU substation, Brown said.

He also said that seismographic readings from the blast were below regulatory limits and that no damage was found.

Work crews have been blasting at the CentrePointe site since March 17, loosening layers of rock for construction of a 700-car underground parking garage.

Officials with Kentucky Utilities said tremors from the blast about 10:05 a.m. Monday apparently caused a nearby electrical substation to shut down, cutting off power to about 1,100 customers in the downtown area for almost two hours.

Electrical service was restored at 11:53 a.m., KU spokesman Cliff Feltham said.

The outage affected an area extending to Ashland Avenue and parts of the Chevy Chase neighborhood, Feltham said.

A state inspector monitored Monday morning's blast with a seismograph at the federal building in downtown Lexington, about two blocks from the blasting site, Brown said. All readings were within specified limits, he said.

Nevertheless, Brown said, electrical power went out at the federal building, although the power stayed on at two city buildings near the blast site.

Webb said he was surprised that Monday's explosion caused any problems because it was relatively small.

He said the next step planned at CentrePointe will involve hauling away the remaining rock that has been loosened by previous blasting. Excavation then would begin for 4-foot-wide footers, he said.

"There might be some minor blasting for that, but it won't be anything like these charges that have gone off before," he said.

"It's a deeper hole than you would think," Webb said. "But hopefully in the next four or five months, the garage will be built back up at the surface."

Most of the electrical customers affected by Monday's outage were businesses, according to KU.

Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.

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