BRUNSWICK

Construction crews say blasting work at the site of the town’s new police station is almost done.

It’s news that neighbor Ray Bernier is glad to hear.

“They’ve been here for a month, and this is the 13th time that they’ve been blasting,” Bernier said. “It shakes the whole house.”

Bernier, a lifelong resident of Brunswick, said he has lived in his rugged old Morse Court bungalow — built sturdy in 1906 — for the last 25 years.

But he worries that percussion waves from the explosives, as they ripple through bedrock that underpins the whole neighborhood, could be doing untold damage to his foundation and those of houses nearby.

Gardiner-based Maine Drilling and Blasting took video and photographic surveys of each house in the neighborhoods adjacent to the Pleasant and Stanwood intersection, to document existing damage, foundation cracks or other blemishes before blasting began.

At Bernier’s house, no additional cracks have shown up or windows broken. But he said one clock broke when it toppled from a window sill and that a grandfather clock in his living room stopped working after the explosions started.

What’s more, every time the house shudders from the concussion, so does he.

Friday morning’s blast — from fewer than 75 feet away — did, in fact, make the house tremble. Shock waves rattled windows and cupboard doors; underfoot, the floor jumped and vibrated like a drum head.

“Houses aren’t supposed to move like that,” Bernier said afterward, pointing toward the floor. “Every time, I just wonder what’s happening down there where we can’t see.”

Neither police nor municipal officials say they have received complaints about damage from blasting.

Before each blast and using excavators as cranes, workers lay heavy mats — made of old tires, shredded and woven together — atop the explosion site to muffle sound and contain shrapnel and debris.

Friday’s explosion made the mats, each of which can weigh many hundreds of pounds, jump several feet off the ground. When they settled again, the mats lay in a jumbled heap.

Work at the site of the new police department building began in late summer. Shortly afterward, blueprints were modified when geographic surveys determined the original foundation design incompatible with the undersoil.

Later, engineers found more ledge than anticipated where the new parking lot eventually will be, and blasters were contracted early in December.

The job originally was scheduled to last two weeks. However, severe weather and the complexity of using explosives combined to prolong the process.

Carl Wallace, a project foreman for Maine Drilling and Blasting, said Friday likely was be the last day.

“The schedule is an ideal, but until you get in there you don’t know what you’ve got (to deal with), and the weather hasn’t helped us out any,” Wallace said.

Attempts to reach project manager Rick Powers of Topsham contractor Harry Crooker and Sons of Topsham were unsuccesful Friday.



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