Construction crews working on the Highway 97 realignment set off a blast designed to move 1

Construction crews working on the Highway 97 realignment set off a blast designed to move 1

Blasting a faster highway

Work on the Highway 97 realignment between Winfield and Oyama is coming along as scheduled.

Work on the Highway 97 realignment between Winfield and Oyama is coming along as scheduled. Last week the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure toured the site for local politicians and media.

There has been significant blasting on the hillside to make way for the new route. An estimated fifty to sixty blasts have taken place already and hundreds more are expected before the project is completed.

Reid Drummond, project manager, says complaints from residents have been minimal. “On a couple of dry days we’ve had phone calls about dust, and our response has been to run the watering truck over the sight. Other than that things are going really good,” says Drummond.

When blasting work is being done on the site the rock being affected is covered with large rubber mats made from used tires. The mats ensure that rock isn’t shot careening down to the highway below.

As an added precaution the highway is shutdown during blasts. Drummond says the closure usually only lasts for a few minutes.

When it is completed the realignment will feature two underpasses, that serve as access points to the crown land west of the highway.

There are currently 56 workers employed on the project. Their sights are still set on a 2013 completion date.