Shelburne Street roundabout project will require underground blasting, residents told

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) – Residents in the vicinity of a new roundabout under construction on Shelburne Street in Burlington are being told to expect the low rumble of underground explosions in the coming months. Matt Wheeler, project manager for contractor S.D. Ireland, said crews are running into underground ledges that need to be cleared to make way for utilities.

“One of the main reasons for the blasting is that some of the underground structures are much deeper than where the top of the ledge is,” Wheeler said. “Some structures are as deep as 20 feet deep.”

Residents weighed in on the project virtually Tuesday at a meeting at the Burlington Electric Department, where the Vermont Agency of Transportation, S.D. Ireland and Burlington Public Works were available to answer questions.

Work began about a month ago. The project is expected to be completed by June 2023.

One question asked: “If you live on the corner of Locust and Shelburne and you need to leave your driveway, how long will you need to wait if blasting is taking place?” 

Wheeler said the small, controlled explosions will be confined to a 250-foot area. Workers will go door-to-door in the area to alert residents to the blasts, which will occur on and off through the beginning of winter and resume in the spring.

“There’s thousands of feet of underground utilities that we need to install,” Wheeler said.  “And blasting will expedite this process and the project in general.”

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