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Blasting to begin in September

Blasting is expected to begin next month at the John Hart Generating Station following council approval of 24/7 construction.

City council, at its July 22 meeting, granted project noise and blasting variances to contractor Aecon SNC-Lavalin to allow blasting day and night in order to complete an underground tunnel to what will be a new underground generating station.

Stephen Watson, spokesperson for BC Hydro, said controlled, low-level blasting will begin in September.

“Blasting will occur above ground for approximately two months before moving underground as the tunnel is developed,” Watson wrote in the latest project report. “Blasts will be small, closely monitored and may occur day and/or night, seven days a week. Once surface blasting is completed, it is anticipated that there will be minimal noise disruption.”

Project manager Scott Marshall confirmed last month that it’s highly unlikely residents living in the area will be impacted by the blasting.

“As the majority of work is underground and also over two kilometres from the nearest dwelling, noise from our blasting operation will not be a problem,” Marshall said at the June 24 council meeting. “BC Hydro has placed very stringent vibration criteria on adjacent structures closer to the blast area than the existing city of Campbell River infrastructure.

“Seismographs will be set up for each blast to measure and ensure the vibration levels will not be exceeded.”

Council also gave approval for a variance to the city’s construction noise regulations, which permit construction noise from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays and statutory holidays.

The variance will allow crews to load and remove excavated material from the underground tunnel offsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Marshall told council that rock will be transported during both dayshift and nightshift and it’s anticipated that six to eight trucks per hour, on both shifts, will be hauling from the site.

The trucks will leave the project site via the road to the city’s water treatment facility off of Highway 28 and will use Highway 19 and Highway 28 to access two material drop-off sites, one north of the generating station at Middle Point and the other a gravel pit off Willis Road.

Blasting and hauling is expected to continue until Oct. 1.

In addition to a new underground tunnel, the $1 billion John Hart re-construction project involves construction of a new powerhouse, turbine and generator installation in the new powerhouse as well as mechanical and electrical work.

The project is expected to last for five years.

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