31 October 2016
| Major Milestones

Blasting to commence on the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing from November

New England Highway

Controlled blasting commences on the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) corridor next month, following a successful emergency services drill on the New England Highway at Mount Kynoch last week.

The drill, which simulated a full blasting operation, was undertaken in collaboration with Queensland Police Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Ambulance Service, and tested the scenario of an emergency vehicle needing access on the New England Highway during blasting.

Nexus Chief Executive Officer John Hagan said the successful trial showed that emergency services could maintain response times to the community throughout the blasting period.

“We anticipate that when controlled blasting begins in the area next month, general traffic may be held for up to five minutes, except in an emergency situation like today, where both traffic and the simulated blast were held until all emergency vehicles passed through,” he said.

“Access for emergency services will be maintained at all times. Should emergency services require access, controlled blasting activities will be put on hold immediately and stay on hold until there is no longer an emergency situation.

“As a precaution we will have temporary hold-and-release traffic control on nearby roads, which may cause minor delays. The traffic will only be paused just before the blast and then Nexus personnel will do a quick check of the road for any minor debris after the blast before motorists can resume their journeys.”

Bulk earthworks have been underway since August, and Nexus will undertake blasting operations only when it needs to loosen hard rock that cannot be excavated by machines.

Mr Hagan said Nexus expects controlled blasting to commence in the eastern section of the project from early November, and from mid to late November in the Central section, weather and construction conditions permitting.

“Nearby residents may hear the blasts and feel some vibrations at the time of the blast, however, impacts are very minimal with this kind of controlled activity,” he said.

Mr Hagan said controlled blasting is a safe and precise method for loosening hard rock that is used to complement conventional construction methods such as excavators, bulldozers and scrapers.

“To maintain the integrity of the surrounding earth, each blast is specially designed for the type, strength and depth of rock remaining and the desired excavation depth,” he said.

“The scale of the blasting depends on the daily progress of the excavation earthworks and is subject to changing weather and site conditions.

“This means that as the earthworks progress over the next twelve months we will know more and more about how much blasting is required.”

During controlled blasting, a series of small holes is drilled into the rock face and fitted with explosive charges, effectively splitting the blast into a number smaller blasts. The charges are then released in a sequence, dispersing the impact and controlling the excavation depth.

This work will allow the construction of the $1.6 billion TSRC project to continue, keeping it on schedule to be completed and operational by late 2018.

Directly affected residents will be notified of specific details for upcoming blasting activities.