Over 1m tons of rock blasted during Newry By-pass improvement scheme
Albion Drilling Group recently completed the blasting of over 330,000m³ of rock, 10,000m² of pre-split and 2,750m of stitch drilling during Phase II of the A1/N1 Newry Bypass road improvement scheme.
The works posed various technical difficulties due to the proximity of nearby homes, which at times were as close as 25m, and also by being adjacent to both the main Belfast to Dublin railway line and the existing, extremely busy, Newry bypass. This one year contract, for Lagan Ferrovial JV, was won after successfully undertaking Phase I, Dundalk to Newry, during the previous year.
The majority of the blasting took place at five different locations along the route of the improvement scheme. Each site posed its own particular difficulties and placed additional demands on the specialist skills of Albion’s technical staff. At Cloghoge North residential properties were just 50m away from the blast site where 118,000m³ of rock were removed, while at Cloghoge South a small business park was equally close.
At the second largest site, Derrybeg Lane, blasting was especially delicate as the nearest homes were just 25m away. In order to avoid any problems for local residents or road and rail travellers, short possessions of both the roads and railway lines had to be co-ordinated with the prior agreement of the respective authorities. Consequently blasting took place three times a week with blasts being fired at one of the two specified times on the given days.
Using their new state of the art Atlas-Copco L6 drilling rigs, and pneumatic crawler rigs for the more awkward situations, Albion fired over 100 blasts and successfully completed the pre-splitting and blasting of more than one million tons of rock.