Land preps for The Falls has residents concerned
It's full speed ahead for The Falls project as workers prep the land for the 1.47 million square foot development.
But for the last four to six weeks, it's been making a lot of commotion. "The blasting is what gets me because it does shake the house quite much," said Deborah Murray, a resident of the area.
Murray lives right beside the construction site. She says she can hear and feel everything. "In my mind I think that's an earthquake right at first. It startles me and scares me. And then I'm like, 'oh, yeah, it's just a blast'," said Murray.
And it has her concerned about her home. "I don't want my home to be damaged," said Murray.
Fire Marshal Eric Blevins tells us the construction company is required by the state to follow certain guidelines when blasting.
Those guidelines include having a certified blaster, having insurance and checking the distance from the site to the closest building. "The distance you're away from residential buildings describes how much [explosive] you can use, because the closer you are the less you can use. So hopefully you can minimize any issues," said Blevins.
Blevins says the blasts are small and many are underground, causing minimal debris. However, the shaking can't be completely stopped. "Whenever you light a blast off in the ground there is going to be some shaking or things like that, that are going to take place," he said.
He said they're unsure of how long the blasting will continue to go on. "As you can see from the interstate there's a lot of site prep left at this point, so it's not something that's going to end tomorrow," said Blevins.
On average, Blevins told us there are three to four blasts a week. If you are driving on the interstate near Exit 5 during these times, the Virginia State Police and Bristol Virginia Police Department will be doing rolling blocks to keep cars out of blasting range as a safety precaution.
The city is adhering to an explosive materials code to keep residents safe. The code is as follows:
NFPA 495 Explosive Materials Code
11.4.1- Flyrock traveling in the air or along the ground shall not be cast from the blast site in an uncontrolled manner that could result in personal injury or property damage.
11.4.2- Flyrock shall not be propelled from the blast site onto property not contracted by the blasting operation or onto property for which the owner has not provided a written waiver to the blasting operation.
11.4.3- Where blasting operations do not conform to 11.4.1 and 11.4.2, the AHJ shall require that special precautions be employed to reduce or control flyrock.
10.1.15 Blasting mats or other protective devices shall be used when determined to be necessary by the blaster-in-charge to prevent fragments from being thrown beyond the blast area.
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