Work crews spent hours Thursday preparing the site of the old Lafayette Street culvert just for a half-second of explosions. Drilling Contract Services Inc. of West Blocton began four days of work at the site, drilling holes in the rock to a depth of 8 feet then inserting an emulsified explosive designed to explode and shatter the rock.

In all, 18 detonations were spaced 25 milliseconds apart for a total of .45 seconds of explosions. Each explosion had the power of 7 pounds of dynamite. The work is part of a $160,000 project to replace an aging culvert built during the Great Depression with new pipes.

The area will be closed to through traffic until September when work is expected to conclude. After the holes were bored, the explosives were placed and dirt was put on top to muzzle the effects of the detonations on the neighborhood.

The city plans to install nine sections of 12-foot by 4-foot culverts and a couple of 5-foot sections on each end to reduce the likelihood of flooding in the area. Those are expected to arrive in late June, be offloaded and put in place immediately as they arrive by truck.