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North Suburban News

Blasting Begins at Woburn Housing Development

Apr 11, 2019 10:32PM ● By Dan Marra

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WOBURN – Blasting has begun at the ledges site in Woburn, and while residents will be paying close attention to any potential damage to their homes, the history of the blasting company has come into question.

There have been complaints regarding Maine Drilling and Blasting from projects they worked on in Marblehead, Merrimack and Augusta Maine where residents claimed there was damage to their property only for the company to refute those claims and not properly compensate the homeowners.

The multi-year construction project, which will include blasting and removing of heavy rock, will be taking place along North Main Street in Woburn, near Briarwood and Driftwood, down the street from St. Anthony’s and the Altavesta Elementary School.

Residents of the area, along with the city of Woburn, fought the 168-unit housing development for years, taking to court the state’s Housing Appeals Committee, which granted approval for this project after Woburn’s ZBA declined the application. After an appeals court sided with the developer and the state Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the project was able to move forward.

According to court documents, the Zoning Board declined the permit because “the Project will create a loud cacophony of noise that would rise to the level of ‘noise pollution’ under both Woburn’s ordinance and Massachusetts law.”

Additionally, there were concerns about the scale of the project. Since the property is mostly ledge, it requires nearly 24 months of blasting and removal of 420,000 cubic yards of rocks and other debris, which could see upwards of 60 trucks a day make the trek up to the construction site, according to the developer – Woburn 38.

When completed, the project would house 168 units in four buildings, with a clubhouse. Twenty-five percent of those units would be affordable.

But the blasting is what concerns residents.

“We’re not against subsidized housing,” resident and former alderman Mike Raymond said. “We’re against the blasting.”

According to Maine Drilling and Blasting, they work with neighbors to try and ease any concerns the residents in the area may have.

“At Maine Drilling & Blasting, we take safety and our role in the local communities we serve, very seriously,” said Dan Werner, President and CEO of Maine Blasting in an email. “We work very hard with customers, communities, local agencies, and the general public to best manage appropriate blasting services. We are very thorough and meticulous in our planning, preparations and blast designs to ensure the highest level of safety.”

According to Werner, for any resident that believes their property has damage, the company follows a “rigorous process” to investigate those claims. When asked about claims made in other communities accusing Maine Drilling and Blasting of not working with homeowners to pay for damage, Werner said that “it is company policy not to comment on claims, active or closed.”

According to Alderman Eddie Tedesco, residents received blasting damage forms to fill out in case there’s damage to their home.

“Any resident that experiences damages from blasting will out those forms within 30 days of the damage,” Tedesco said. “Those forms will be turned in to the Woburn Fire Prevention office and then turned in to the State Fire Marshal's Office.”

Day one of blasting is over, but for residents the fight is just beginning.

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