A public meeting is set for Tuesday after officials from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Orange County and Orange Water and Sewer Authority have decided to move forward with “low-intensity underground blasting” to remove rock as part of the Rogers Road Area Sewer Project.

After decades of promises to extend the sewer lines to the historically black community, a groundbreaking celebration was held as the project was starting in the summer of 2017. Officials estimated the work would be completed roughly one year later, but the project has encountered construction obstacles.

One of those challenges is the dense rock the construction crews encountered, which are now the subject of the blasting efforts. Public information meetings were held this spring to alert residents of the potential for blasting and allow for feedback.

Now, officials said in a release, all alternatives have been evaluated and the group has “decided to move forward with low-intensity underground blasting for rock removal near Tallyho Trail.”

There had been some concern from residents that the blasting could damage nearby homes. The method is used to break up and clear away rocks that are obstructing construction projects.

“Significant work has been done to remove underground rock from the sewer path,” according to the release, “but the rock that has been encountered is extremely dense and has not reacted well to mechanical methods of removal (e.g. hoe-ramming and rock grinding).”

Tuesday’s meeting is aimed at answering any remaining questions from residents, according to officials, before the work begins. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love Church on Rogers Road.

An update from late October on the OWASA website estimated work will now be completed in early 2019.

Photo via OWASA