A1 rock blasting resumes

April 21, 2009

Rock blasting on the A1 Bypass at Cloghogue has resumed after the work was postponed for more than a week while health and safety experts reviewed safety measures at the site.

Blasting was suspended after it emerged that debris from the explosions had landed outside the agreed exclusion zone.  Rocks had landed in the gardens of nearby homes and the vehicle of a council official visiting the site was also hit by rock fragments.

As a result of the investigation, extra safety measures have now been agreed, including the use of blast nets.

“The blast nets are a recognised practice so that when you detonate the explosives, the nets will hold the rock while the gases dissipate out through them,” said Ken Logan, principal Health and Safety Inspector.  “We’re content that the measures will be sufficient. 

“When an incident has occurred, it is always prudent to learn from that incident but there have been around 100 blasts to date and there’s been very little in the line of incidents,” he added.

Sinn Fein councillor, Pat McGinn, who is the chairperson of Newry and Mourne Council’s A1 liaison committee, says residents were concerned by the apparent breaches of the safety zone.

He added that although the importance of this development is recognised and its completion eagerly awaited, the concerns of local residents could not be underestimated.