Remember Billy Ranchers Boom-Chuck Rock? The Sellwood Bridge replacement project is going to do its own late-night imitation of that musical style with a little boom-bang-blast of rocks.
Beginning Wednesday night, the contractor building the nearly $300 million replacement bridge starts blasting the hillside on the west side of Highway 43 north and south of the bridge. The work is needed to construct a new highway interchange for the west end of the bridge, with excavation of the hillside to accommodate new traffic lanes and a retaining wall.
McCallum Rock Drilling of Chehalis, Wash., a subcontractor to Sellwood Bridge construction manager Slayden-Sundt, expects rock blasting will be needed about four weeks this spring. Blasting will happen on two or three weeknights.
Blasting begins Wednesday, March 13, and continues Thursday, March 14. On a blasting night, two or three blasts will be detonated. The first blast will happen close to 9 p.m. Later blasts will usually happen between midnight and 3 a.m.
Five minutes and one minute before each blast, a warning siren will sound. The siren probably will be louder than the blast, which happens deep underground.
Highway and bridge traffic will be held for five to 20 minutes for each blast to keep the public out of the blast area. The outside southbound lane of Highway 43 will be closed near the bridge from about 7 p.m. to about 5 a.m. on blast nights.