CentrePointe project set to 'blast' into new phase

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The view from above shows what construction crews have accomplished at CentrePointe, but it's what is expected to come that is still generating excitement.

"We are very excited about the project, we think it will bring new customers," Bellini's manager, Jenny Hosny, said with a smile.

But before the project can go up, it has to be blown up... Well kind of.

"Right now it's scheduled for March 17th, and there will be one blast a day approximately five or six days a week," explained Jonathan Hollinger, of Lexington's Planning, Preservation, and Development.

A test blast will be done on Saturday, March 8th, at 10 a.m. Then regular blasting will start on Monday, March 17th and will continue for the next eight to ten weeks, or so. As Hollinger said, only one blast will be made in the limestone each day, and it will always be set for 10 a.m.

"10 a.m. was picked because we thought it would have a lower traffic impact," Hollinger added that all traffic, both pedestrians and vehicles, will be stopped at all four intersections around the project.

Hollinger said the blast is very brief, and traffic would only be impacted for five minutes. During that time, police will be on hand, as will flaggers to help stop the traffic. Cell reception and two-way radios will not be affected.

The city has set up a text alert system that you can sign up for by texting "BLASTING" to 46786. The alert will come to your phone five minutes before the charge goes off. At the same time, a horn will sound from the construction site warning of the coming blast.

Those who live and work near the site, have been notified by the companies in charge; Precision Blasting and Gorman Construction.

"I read about it in the elevator, (where) it's posted in the Park Plaza. Not really worried about it, myself, it's going to happen during the day when I'm at work," said Mark Chambers.

While some may have concerns about blasting taking place in Downtown Lexington, the city assures that it won't be anything more than a "thud."

"In the words of the blaster, I think everybody will be underwhelmed by this. It's not going to be like tearing down a building," described Hollinger.

The city said the companies will use "blast mats" to reduce the noise and the effect to the surrounding buildings, which in this part of downtown consists of many older structures, like where Bellini's is located.

"The building was actually built in 1869, so we are a little worried about our foundation," answered Hosny.

Hollinger continued to say, "The blasters did do, as required by state law, a pre-blast survey. So they have inspected all of the buildings in the area and they've done a lot of legwork up to this point. And everything has checked out."

Initially Hosny and others at the restaurant expressed concern about the glasses and bottles behind their bar, and how the blasting might affect their business. After a visit from the company and an explanation of the effects, Hosny said much of those nerves were eased.

"We have been assured that if any damage happens to our building that they will take care of it. It definitely makes us feel a lot better about this process that's happening across the street."

While the underground parking garage will take time to complete, the city said there will not be any blasting from March 19th through the 23rd because of the boy's Sweet Sixteen taking place at Rupp Arena.

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