By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Around 6 a.m. Wednesday, there will be a blast, and an incredible amount of rock will slide off the city face of Mt. Washington near Station Square.

The blast will include road closures at the beginning of the morning rush hour.

Suspended by ropes, their work seems precarious as the contractor for Norfolk Southern prepares the hillside for Wednesday morning’s blast.

“We’re bringing down somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 cubic yards of material,” said Norfolk Southern Railroad vice president Rudy Husband. “[In layman’s terms], about 250 to 300 dump trucks full.”

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The clouds of dust rise as they drill into the rock face so the charges can be placed Tuesday night in preparation for Wednesday morning’s blast. Oh, and don’t expect a big kaboom.

“It’s certainly going to be more quiet than the average firework,” Husband said. “You’ll hear kind of a thud, and that’ll be about it.”

No shattering of windows, no rattling of foundations.

“We’re not expecting a big concussion effect,” Husband said.


But it will impact the early part of the morning rush hour with McCardle Roadway closed, as well as the Wabash Tunnel and the Station Square parking lots near Highmark Stadium, which will all close at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday. The blast should come between 6 and 6:15 a.m.

“Then there’s going to be a 15 minute safety check, then the roads will reopen once we are done with that,” Husband said. “So the maximum window that we’re looking at is 5:45 to 6:30 a.m., but hopefully, from a traffic standpoint, we’ll be able to tighten that up.”

Husband says the hillside will not be pulverized by the blast.

“We think it’s going to come down in some relatively large chunks,” he said.

Which will then be broken up and loaded into 50 tri-axle trucks.

As for being a spectator, try the Fort Pitt Boulevard area. Forget about coming to the South Side.

“If you think you’re going to get within 800 feet and probably even a thousand feet of the site, it’s not going to happen,” Husband said.

Once the blast happens, the rocks come down and they start that hauling out process, Carson Street is going to be critical. They need that area for the trucks to haul the stuff out, so as a result, Carson is going to stay closed just a little longer. It looks like it will open again on Saturday.