Recent quarry blast not the first to shake McCook

The ABC7 I-Team has an update on the quarry explosion that rocked the western suburbs on Monday.
November 5, 2013 5:02:29 PM PST
The ABC7 I-Team has an update on the quarry explosion that rocked the western suburbs on Monday. It registered 3.2 magnitude and was first thought to be an earthquake, but now state authorities are looking into whether the explosion broke any laws.

For thousands of residents in and around southwest suburban McCook, it has been a rocky road for more than a decade in dealing with the fallout from quarry blasting.

Although some quarry operations have been there for a century-- using explosives to dislodge limestone-- the testy battle between community groups, companies and public officials is more recent and ongoing.

On Tuesday night, state inspectors are still going over records of what was blown up and when here at the Hanson Services. The quarry owner has said that a 3.2 tremor was just a coincidence and occurred several minutes after they blew up rock wall.

The I-Team obtained photos from one Countryside resident who says Monday's blast cracked walls and she thought her house was going to collapse. She and other residents who live around here say the concussion on Monday was the worst in years, although the ground shakes on a regular, sometimes daily, basis.

There was such damage to Joliet Road along the Vulcan Quarry in McCook that in 1998 state officials closed the roadway after determining it was unsafe for public use.

Three years ago-- without admitting any wrongdoing-- Vulcan paid a $40 million settlement to the Illinois Department of Transportation. A repair project is now in its infancy-- with Joliet Road remaining closed-- and affecting motorists and rail traffic every day.

The IDOT presentation describes a plan still years from completion.

The initial public hearing on fixing the Joliet Road situation was held a year and a half ago. The first stage of the planning won't be done until 2015, and by the time the entire project is wrapped up, that stretch of Joliet Road will have been closed for about 30 years.

As for Monday's explosion, a state spokesman just told the I-Team that they expect to make a statement Wednesday afternoon concerning whether there were any violations by the Hanson Quarry.

Additional information:
1997 IDOT statement closing Joliet Road due to explosion damage
2010 announcement of settlement with Vulcan Materials to repair damaged road
IDOT Joliet Road Project


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