Vol. 13 No. 1 - August, 2010

Construction update: Digging deep at the Albert Sherman Center

Drilling, blasting and digging, in that order, continued throughout June and July as workers ready the site for the foundation of the Albert Sherman Center.

The process involves drilling a matrix of deep holes to be loaded with an explosive charge. In some areas, a line of tightly spaced holes around the perimeter of the blast area are drilled as a back-stop to prevent the explosive charge from cracking rock beyond the targeted site.

ASC blasting
Robert Carlin Photography
Drilling, blasting and digging continued throughout June and July as work crews ready the site for the foundation.

Once the matrix of explosives is detonated (typically twice a day), large excavators move in to dig out the broken rock and load waiting trucks. Much of the rock to be hauled off site in the form of boulders will be crushed into gravel and brought back to the site for use as fill. The rock recycling program is more cost-effective than simply hauling the boulders away to a dump site then buying new material to backfill around the foundation or grade the site to its finished contours.

Also in June, construction extended south along First Road in front of the parking garage for installation of a 24-inch diameter drain line to carry storm water runoff from the new building site. Temporary fencing was installed to create an extended construction perimeter and to direct pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Once the drain line is installed and the roadway is resurfaced, the sidewalk in front of the garage will re-open, as will the First Road vehicle exit from the garage.

The site preparation work, including the installation of utilities to service the new building, will continue through the summer and into the fall. If all goes according to plan, steel will begin rising from the foundation later this year.

The building is scheduled to open in 2012. For more information about the $400 million project (a figure that includes the building and supporting infrastructure) and to keep pace with the progress by viewing the Web cams that cover the site, please visit: www.umassmed.edu/shermancenter