12/13/2013 5:01 PM
by Rachael Cardin
MERCER COUNTY - Rock blasting held up traffic at two separate times on Monday for all drivers heading southbound on I-77
The Interstate was closed, hoping a single blast could dislodge a specific area of rock causing the hazard on the northbound side. This particular area of the structure has caused problems since March, and was the main target for the geologists, explosive specialists and DOH officials. 3 main pieces of rock were drilled and filled with explosives. Only one rock was removed after the first blast, but DOH officials said the road is now safe to travel.
“Obviously, when you're traveling along at 70 MPH you don't expect anything in the roadway. So our primary goal is always the safety of the traveling public. So, hopefully, this will stabilize it at least for the moment and improve the safety through there. The contractor seemed relatively pleased; I think maybe they expected a few more to fall, but when you're dealing with that kind of an unknown it’s just hard to say’” said Thomas Camden, District manager of District 10.
Officials with the DOH said they hope the blasting is a permanent solution but they will be on the lookout for future erosion issues.