Haw River dynamite blasting angers some, defended by others

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HAW RIVER, N.C. -- Making room for railroad improvements in Haw River is sending some people through the roof.

Some residents are angry with dynamite blasts that have just begun off Graham Road near Main Street.

The line is being straightened out and more room is being made to prevent bottlenecking between Raleigh and Charlotte.

Patti Pierce, who said she knew the demolition work was beginning, was still surprised by the blasts and the way they shook her house near Jones Road.

“It's sort of like an earthquake, like a rumble, and it shakes everything,” said Pierce.

Pierce hasn’t noticed any damage at her home but others have reported drywall damage to the fire department.

Neighbors like Tracy Vaughn are surprised by claims of damage.

“I'm right on top of it and I don't have any damage,” said Vaughn. “They're doing everything by the book. I think everything will be okay.”

Before the blasting began, Vaughn and others got a visit from project consultants who inspected nearby homes.

A spokesman for the consultant group Vibra-Tech said it has received some damage complaints and those cases are under investigation. He did not expand on what types of damages have been reported.

If you have questions about that complaint process or the dynamite work you can call Vibra-Tech at (803) 548-3066.

Pierce and others have also complained about the lack of warning with blasts. There are air horns that are used a couple of times in the minutes before a detonation. Some people are able to feel the blasts but not hear the horn.

“It is a little scary,” said Pierce. “It comes with no warning, it's very loud and it shakes the foundation. It is a concern because you don't know what damage it has done, if any.”

Dennis Smith, another neighbor off Jones Road, doubts any of the damage claims would amount to much. He’s been watching the blasting from just over his backyard and has property a short distance from the blasting.

“We've got a concrete building right on top of it and the floor is not cracked or anything and it blasted within 50 feet of that building,” said Smith.