How the Team Removed Rock at Lookout Mountain Without Blasting
**Click here to read the complete transcript of the podcast: concept-to-completion.box.com/s/7xsx3qrf691ezc0u1pli6o0ti104trw7 . Below is an excerpt.**
Charles Jabaley: Welcome to GroundUp, a podcast by EMJ Corporation featuring stories that define who we are as a company. I’m your host, Charles Jabaley.
Located in EMJ’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Ruby Falls boasts the nation’s largest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public, sitting 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain. Ruby Falls has a strong legacy in Chattanooga, so when the EMJ team was selected to oversee the attraction’s expansion, it jumped at the opportunity to serve the community and to tackle the unique challenge of building on a rocky mountainside.
Hugh Morrow: The EMJ team came to us and said, "We want to build anything that is historically significant to Chattanooga, and this building is.”
Charles: That’s Hugh Morrow, President of Ruby Falls.
Hugh Morrow: It will be here for 75, 80, 100 years and it is a unique landmark going forward that most everybody that travels through Chattanooga is aware of Ruby Falls. So to be a part of that and to complete this has been extremely exciting.
Charles: The expansion included a new "Village Plaza," ticket atrium, overlook of the city, larger gift shop and shaded outdoor patio area, as well as updated parking, restrooms and office spaces.
Matt: Basically the building was designed to queue customers more efficiently through their building that allows them to cut down on how many people are standing in line, which ultimately will increase the customer experience at their attraction.
Hugh: Our intention is to create a platform or a pad out of the rock, next to our iconic 1929 castle so that we could settle the building back into the mountain. We also have our number one revenue source, which is our cavern tour that runs directly under the new building at about 260 feet.
Charles: The site’s location on a rocky mountainside presented many unique challenges.
Hugh: We could not use explosives or any type of aggressive means to remove the rock for fear that it might damage what's underneath it which is our cavern, or damage what is next to it which was the 1929 castle. So we had to come up with some unique ways to do that and carefully and gingerly remove rock as best we could to create the platform for the new building to go on.
Charles: Here’s Alex Miller, EMJ Vice President of Preconstruction.
Alex Miller: You had to move forty foot of rock off the side of a mountain above a cave that's been there for thousands of years. So there was all kinds of ideas going around about how to remove the rock. Do you blast the rock, do you drill it and hammer it out, do you use basically a chemical reaction where you drill holes and pour something in and it expands and fractures the rock and then you remove it?
Charles: The EMJ team along with Blevins Construction Management, the architects from PGAV Destinations, the Ruby Falls operations team and various trade partners researched and considered all options.
**Click here to read the rest of the story: concept-to-completion.box.com/s/7xsx3qrf691ezc0u1pli6o0ti104trw7 **