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Blasting to begin on new Louisville VA Medical Center construction site Feb. 4

Louisville District
Published Jan. 28, 2022

LOUISVILLE, KY – Blasting work will tentatively begin on the construction site of the new Louisville VA Medical Center Friday, Feb. 4. It’s expected to occur daily between 2 and 2:30 p.m. daily and continue through April 2022.

Blasting is required to install key portions of structures on the construction site along with utilities for the facilities, according to Tim Hitchcock, USACE Louisville Area Engineer for the project.

“Big picture, blasting is required to allow for the overall construction of the facility.  This is due to elevation of the underground utility connections, mechanical systems, foundation/building construction, etc.,” he explained.

Area residents will receive a five-minute warning signal - a series of long audible signals five minutes prior to the blast, a one-minute to blast signal – a series of short audible signals one minute to the blast, and an All-Clear signal - a prolonged audible signal following the inspection of a blast area.

Hitchcock said blasting like what will take place on the site is a standard practice in all large-scale construction projects that encounter relatively shallow bedrock and allows for savings in time and taxpayer’s dollars.

“I am not aware of reasonable way that blasting could be avoided due to the relatively shallow depth of the limestone bedrock and the natural lay of the land,” Hitchcock explained. “The other common construction practice to remove bedrock is by using construction equipment that utilize hydraulic hammers.  This methodology tends to take considerably more time than blasting and also creates a significant amount of noise pollution over protracted periods of time.  The only way to avoid rock removal completely would be to adjust the existing grades of the site by the importation of material to build the site much higher than it currently is.  This would cause other issues in relation to construction, site access, the aesthetics for the surrounding community, and would add considerable expense to the project.”

The term “blasting” may spark thoughts of large explosions shown in movies, but Hitchcock said area residents near the site should only notice small tremors if any disruption from the blasting.

“One mitigation measure, with respect to impacts of blasting is that those existing soils will be left in place during blasting. They will assist in mitigating sound, vibration, and the dispersion of rock fragments,” he said. “Any disruptions or vibrations to area residents will be highly dependent upon the proximity to the area and the blast themselves. Typically speaking a “thump” will be heard when the blast occurs, the ground will heave upward and there is a chance there may be a puff of dust rise through the drill holes which is from the bedrock.”

The $840 million project designed by SmithGroup will be constructed by Walsh-Turner Joint Venture II, Chicago, Illinois.

The project includes construction of a new 910,115 square foot medical center, parking structures, a 42,205 square foot central utility plant, roadways, sidewalks, and other site improvements.

The new 104 bed, full-service hospital located on Brownsboro Road in Louisville, Kentucky, will provide world-class healthcare for more than 45,000 Veterans in Kentucky and Southern Indiana

The new hospital will integrate modern patient-centered care concepts to provide the best possible care for Veterans. In addition, to specifically address the needs of women Veterans, the new hospital will include a Women’s Health Clinic with 4 Patient Aligned Care Teams.

Construction is anticipated to be complete in 2026.

To learn more about the project visit:


Michael Maddox

Release no. 22-003

Chick Lock

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