NATURVETENSKAP LIFE. Engineering Geologist Romina Lobos is a sought-after supervisor known for her ability to carry out blasting with as little impact on the surroundings as possible. The team on her latest project, Naturvetenskap Life, includes a driller, a blaster and a excavator she specifically requested to work with her. “I work with the best guys, and I have a laser focus on the situation the whole time,” she comments.
Blasting to prepare the site for construction of Naturvetenskap Life will begin soon. Since the project must be carried out with the utmost caution, excavation work will take time. Drilling and blasting will continue for 18 months, and Romina Lobos, the engineering geologist, is heading the work on site at Medicinareberget. She works for the Norconsult consulting firm, which was hired by the contractor Skanska and Akademiska Hus.
In addition to planning and coordinating excavation at the site, Lobos assesses properties of the rock and works with the blaster to determine how deeply to place the dynamite in the rock. Lobos also takes a certain amount of delight in pressing the button to trigger the explosives.
Akademiska Hus contacted Lobos a year ago to get her input on the project. She looks forward to finally beginning work at Medicinareberget.
“This will take up all my time for a year and a half. I love working with these guys who are part of the team here. We understand each other almost without words and depend on each other,” she says with her characteristic Spanish accent.
The men she is talking about are driller Victor Åkesson, excavator Rickard Hessle and blaster Masen.
“They call me HSB, which stands for ‘Hon Som Bestämmer’ (She Who Decides),” says Lobos, laughing. “We have worked together before, and I hand-picked them for this project. They put their heads together when working, and together we find the best solution to any problems that arise.”
A bunch of perfectionists
Good rock engineering is a bit like baking a cake, she maintains. Anyone can follow directions, but the cake will not be nearly as good if the baker lacks flair. Well-implemented blasting minimizes disruption, and for Romina, working with the right people is crucial.
“Both my driller and my excavator are real perfectionists. Victor drills to the depth we need to the exact millimeter, and Richard knows the art of covering a charge and putting the heavy blasting mats carefully in place so that the blasting cable doesn’t break. I call them my ‘experts’ and together we call ourselves ‘world class.’
“The blaster plans and adapts the blasts based on the rock’s characteristics, which requires a lot of imagination and willingness to think, but the key is experience, and he has it.”
Because Romina also has a blasting license, discussions often take place between her and Masen on which strategy is best in a given situation. They understand each other well and know what the other is thinking.
Blasting starts in February
The blasting will start at the beginning of February (week 7), initially as far away from Medicinarlängan as possible. More than 40 sensitive vibration meters have been deployed in premises next to the construction site, and Lobos is one of those who will receive a direct alarm if the meters are triggered.
Blasting will occur twice a week at a time Lobos, her colleagues and the organization agree on. The agreed-upon times currently are Tuesday and Thursday between 12:00 and 13:00, with a contingency time of 15:00.
For more detailed information about blasting plans, see Lobos’ presentation at the information meeting held on January 17, 2019 (Swedish only): https://play.gu.se/media/0_qgviq1zx
TEXT AND PHOTO: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN