Blasting to begin for science hall

The months-long phase of controlled blasting will begin Thursday at the Science and Engineering Hall construction site, more than a month after the University first announced blasting would begin.

The once-daily blasting will start up just as the academic year draws to a close and exam week starts. Last fall, University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the University was in talks with contractors to restrict the most disruptive noise during finals.

Residents of nearby buildings “may feel more intense vibrations likened to the vibrations associated with a minor earthquake,” according to the University’s InfoMail sent to students Wednesday. “Those in the area surrounding the construction site may feel a vibration comparable to a door slam or a large truck driving down the street.”

The University will not halt blasting during exam week, University spokeswoman Jill Sankey said, calling the explosions just brief interruptions. Each weekday at 10:30 a.m., the construction crew will blow warning air horns multiple times before signaling the blasts.

As in the fall, the University will restrict “exceptionally noisy construction activity” until after 9 a.m. during finals weeks. The construction crews halt louder work until after 8 a.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. Saturdays.

“After the first several days of students becoming familiar with the process, it became a routine part of daily life which presented little, if any, disruptions,” Sankey said.

The University originally projected that the construction technique would start around mid-March, but the excavation did not reach the bottom of the pit until this week.

“This sort of timing fluctuation is typical when working with a large project site that has varying soil conditions,” Sankey said.

The delay in blasting will not impact the construction project’s completion date of late 2014, Sankey said.

Blasts are scheduled for the next four to six months, but activity will vary depending on weather and excavation progress, according to the InfoMail.

President of the Residence Hall Association Jacob Thayer said he does not believe the blasting will be too disruptive.

“RHA has been in discussions with the operation to make sure things are as non-intrusive as possible. It shouldn’t really affect things too much. The air horn will probably be more disruptive than the actual blasting,” Thayer said.

Chloe Sorvino contributed to this report

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