Neighbors Question Blasting Plans

As site work continues on the new Clarke County High School, the realities of heavy construction in close proximity to residences has started to manifest itself, mainly in the form of questions. Visits by a blasting survey company in the Battlefield Estates neighborhood have residents asking questions and wondering exactly what is going on at the construction site.

Site work for waterline construction. Photo Mike Dowling

At Tuesday’s Town Council meeting during the citizens forum, Caroline Brophy, a resident of Battlefield Estates stood before the council to voice concerns over the blasting survey. Mrs Brophy asked the council, “What is the criteria for the blasting survey? When will the blasting start? Will we be notified?” Her questions portrayed a lack of communication between residents and construction crews and she summarized her position stating, “It would appear to me that somebody owes those of us who live there, some notification that this will be taking place.”

CDN visited the site to discuss the situation with construction representatives and spoke with Gordon Williams the project superintendent for Shockey Construction. The work in question revolves around the waterline that is being relocated on the site. Mr Williams said crews encountered a rock seam that requires blasting and described the work as “small shots” because they would only be going down 7 or 8 feet. While Shockey Construction is overseeing the entire project, actual blasting will involve several sub-contractors.

Judy Construction out of Middletown, Va is the subcontractor responsible for site work on the project and will be overseeing the blasting operation. Monte Hiett, Superintendent for Judy Construction said, “We have subbed the blasting out to Winchester Building Supply, they in turn, hire a third party to go in and do a pre-blast survey to protect nearby homeowners.”

Winchester Building Supply hired, Sauls Seismic, Inc. to handle the pre-blast survey. According to company spokesman Craig A. Cole, “County Blasting Regulations require pre-blast surveys to be performed when a structure is within 300 feet of blasting activities. Surveys are only conducted with homeowner’s permission and all surveys conducted by Sauls Seismic, Inc. meet or exceeded Clarke County Blasting Regulations.” He added that, “All pre-blast surveys include handwritten notes and detailed digital photographs of the existing condition of the structure. Sauls Seismic offers both interior and exterior surveys to the homeowner, and the type of survey conducted is based strictly on the homeowner’s desires.”

A total of nine homes have been surveyed for this blasting event.

When asked what recourse homeowners would have if they believed they had incurred damage from the blasts, Monte Hiett of Judy said, “Claims would be handled through Shockey Construction.”

Construction officials believe that blasting operations will begin the week of August 15th. Drilling will commence early in the week with actual blasting to occur towards the end of the week. Residents should be notified two days prior to actual blasting. Shockey officials said that it is the responsibility of the blasting contractor to contact residents prior to blasting, but added that they will only be notified of the day that it will occur, not specific times.


  1. Here we go again. 6yrs to start the school,and the come heres dont want THEIR house shaken.

    • Where is that stated that they don’t want THEIR house shaken. The article quite clearly states that these folks just want to be notified of when the blasting will take place so they can prepare themselves for it, that it is done in a responsible manner, and who needs to be contacted in case of a problem, that’s all.

      • Sharon Strickland says:

        As President of the Battlefield Estates Civic Association, I applaud Carolyn Brophy for seeking answers for the residents living very near the blast zones.

        I believe Right Winger hit the nail on the head when he stated how responsible it was to seek answers if there are damages and getting the answers about just who is in charge of specific work at this site.

        Thank you again Carolyn Brophy for being a good neighbor to the Battlefield Estates residents. She is never afraid to tackle the issues and seek answers.

        I believe that there will be issues and having names and sources is a good thing.

        Thank you, Carolyn!

  2. Concerned says:

    The question was asked and the question was thoroughly and quickly answered. Nice work!

  3. Sharon Strickland says:

    It is further noted that the developer is responsible for providing by code a 48 hour notice to the residents living within 300 feet of any blast zone. I certainly hope that the contractor is adhering to that fact for each time a blasting is required. I do know that some of the BE residents received a knock on their door today about 40 minutes before the blasting started. I do not know if they had other notice. It is important that the developer stay focused and obey the rules concerning warning notices to residents living within 300 feet of any blast site. Since the new school is to be the neighbor to so many, it is important that rules are followed for the protection of children and residents living nearby.