Blasting is rattling family's life

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By JOSHUA WOLFSON

Several times a day, the windows and walls of Michaelyn Sanders' home shake as if there's an earthquake.

A large boom is heard, and sometimes her young children begin to cry.

"It feels like being in a war zone," she said.

Sanders does not live near a fault line or where thunderstorms are frequent. Her Standard area home is on a hillside being blasted almost daily as part of the East Sonora Bypass Project.

Caltrans is using dirt from the rocky hillside near Peaceful Oak Road to build embankments for portions of the new Highway 108 that will eventually run from Sanguinetti Road to the Twain Harte Grade. The hillside area is full of large boulders that crews regularly blow apart.

Sanders, 24, said she worries that the blasting, which has gone on above her home for four months, could rain shards of rock down onto her driveway, where her children like to play.

"I feel like it is dangerous for my kids," she said. Now, she usually only lets her kids play out front first thing in the morning before the blasting begins.

One explosion knocked a crystal platter off a shelf in the kitchen. So far, that has been the only damage. Still, Sanders worries that something else could fall on one of the children.

Sanders said she has complained to Caltrans a handful of times in June and July, but has gotten little response.

"They can just say, 'We are just checking on that,'" she said. "When does 'We are checking on that' stop?"

Caltrans spokeswoman Tina Walker said she believes the blasting is in line with state safety requirements.

"To the best of my knowledge, the blasting is being conducted within Caltrans contract requirements and the construction safety order for (the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration)," she said.

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