Having a blast on I-90 Snoqualmie Pass

by guest blogger Amanda Sullivan

At the start of summer, we posted a video of one of our test blasts to give you a small taste of what would happen over the summer on I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass.    Over the past couple of months, crews have gotten into a nice rhythm and have been performing much larger blasts called production blasts.  These larger blasts sometimes mean more time is needed to clean debris from the interstate and inspect the slopes.  We wanted to show you all what goes into the rock blasting operations, from preparing the slopes, cleaning the road of debris, and, of course what everyone wants to see…the blast. It’s a carefully orchestrated event from the time crews drill the holes early in the morning to when the loaders are clearing the road of debris and our geotechnical experts are inspecting the slopes for stability later that night.  We do everything possible to reduce risk and keep drivers and our construction crews safe.   So, put on your hard hat, safety vest, glasses and boots and spend a day in the life of our controlled rock blasting crews. 

Crews are conducting rock blasting operations on the slopes adjacent to I-90 near the Lake Keechelus Snowshed (milepost 58) in order to widen the highway from four to six lanes. This means temporary one-hour closures of I-90 at 6 p.m. every Monday through Thursday. Due to the uncertain nature of rock blasting, the blasting closures could last longer and are subject to frequent schedule changes. We suggest you check our What’s Happening on I-90 Web page for up-to-date information on controlled rock blasting schedules and other construction impacts.  Crews will complete blasting and excavating the tons of rock from the slopes by the end of October.