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Crews to begin blasting rock under Jonathan Street

August 28, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Residents can expect to hear blasting along Jonathan Street for up to a month as workers remove large rock deposits from below the surface in order to replace a sewer main.

Jim Bender, assistant engineer for the City of Hagerstown, said workers on Wednesday began drilling holes in the ground and conducting test blasts to determine the appropriate demolition charge that would be needed to fracture the rock.

"It could be a few weeks or even a month ... our contractor thought it would be up to four weeks of work," Bender said.

Bender said the city would have a better idea about when the blasting would be finished after workers determine the amount of rock that is beneath Jonathan Street between Church Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, a distance of about 1,900 feet.

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In June, workers began a $3.7 million project to overhaul Jonathan Street from the 200 block to Pennsylvania Avenue. The project includes utility improvements and repaving the street.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said earlier this month, however, that construction would be delayed for several more weeks because workers found large rock deposits surrounding a sewer main that needs to be replaced. The problem could be traced to the 1920s, when workers didn't remove the rock, but tunneled through it to lay the sewer main, Tissue said.

The Hagerstown City Council had set aside $185,000 to pay for unforeseen expenses that might crop up, Tissue said. If everything goes as planned, the Jonathan Street project should be finished in the summer of 2009.

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