Acushnet Road Repair Inching Again

Ken Motta, senior project manager of Field Engineering, came before the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission on June 22 seeking an Order of Conditions for the massive culvert and road repair project that residents have been waiting for – often angrily. But on this night, it was all systems go for this long anticipated work.

Motta provided details ranging from Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection regulations to wetlands remediation plans to river ways guidelines.

“Every attempt will be made to reuse stones from the channel,” said Motta, a nod to the Historical Commission’s request that the remnants of the mill that once stood on the site – large granite pieces – be either left in place or repurposed to help cover the box culvert.

Motta said that 500 feet of Acushnet Road are to be repaired, requiring widening of the roadway to meet Massachusetts Department of Transportation standards, which also requires wetlands remediation. The DOT requires that the road be widened to 11-foot lanes with three-foot shared-use lanes. The shared-use lanes are for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Rounding out the long list of agencies overseeing and controlling the work is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Their involvement deals with the river flow. “Hydraulic efficiencies will be made to help water flow,” Motta said.

Commission member Peter Newton inquired as to how river flow will be managed during construction. Motta replied that Tinkham Pond flumes will be opened to lower water levels and sandbag-style temporary check dams will also be used to control water flow. He said that this process would take about two or three days.

Newton also asked when the wetlands replication work would take place. Motta said that the roadwork will be started first while awaiting the delivery of the culvert to the site and remediation immediately afterwards. He hopes to have remediation completed during the fall.

Conservation Agent Elizabeth Leidhold said, “This is a very visible site, so it’s important that the replication area be done right.”

“This is an important project,” said Chairman Robert Rogers. “A lot of complex details.”

Motta said that the engineered drawing and volumes of documentation are now in the hands of both local and Boston-based offices of the DEP.

An Order of Conditions was issued.

The board members also heard from Leidhold regarding several potential wetlands violations. She had received a concerned notification from the DEP regarding what appears to be a random piling being placed in the water near 56 Ocean Drive. The contractor who installed the piling had reported to the DEP that there was a permit. None has yet been found. Rogers instructed Leidhold to send the property owners a letter requesting their attendance at the next Conservation Commission meeting and to bring in the permit to confirm they are not in violation of any regulations.

Leidhold also brought up possible violations occurring at 21 Meadowbrook Lane, a property owned by Marion resident Elliot Koffman. Abutting neighbor, Ed Camara, 34 Meadowbrook, told the commission that a year ago he informed the harbormaster that a long row of wooden pallets were being used as a walkway through the marshlands so that the residents renting the house could access their boats. Rogers asked Leidhold to send a letter to the property owners and the residents advising them of the violation and the need to repair the damage.

Leidhold also asked if the commission members would agree to send a letter to the partners of Blue Wave, LLC regarding clearing near wetlands lines along the Tinkham Road solar farm off North Street. She said the area in question needs to be stabilized so that stormwater runoff doesn’t continue to erode the landscape.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for July 13 at 6:30 pm in the Mattapoisett Town Hall meeting room.

By Marilou Newell


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