Public Input Requested

            Public input on a draft report detailing the results of a months-long study on the coastal resiliency of parts of Mattapoisett Neck Road has been requested.

            Members of the consulting group Fuss and O’Neil, along with scientists and engineers from the Woods Hole Group, held a public meeting on June 10 to give their final conclusions and to offer up conceptual fixes to the endangered roadway.

            While there were nine or more specialists attending the meeting plus Select Board member Jordan Collyer and the Highway Surveyor Garrett Bauer, only one member of the community attended. Undaunted, the teams gave an hour-long presentation rounding up previously expressed data and opinions in one tidy package. Now, that package or final report is available at for public review and much needed comment.

            Adam Finkle of the Woods Hole Group reviewed climate change and storm impacts along a stretch of the roadway primarily from Molly’s Cove to the westward termination. Using various data modeling tools, Finkle summarized that by 2030, the chance of an 18-inch flood during storms is a real possibility by a factor of 50 percent.

            “Expect flooding to become more frequent and deeper with the majority of the road underwater by 10 inches and greater,” said Finkle, who went on to stress that, although it would be impossible to design a road for a violent storm incident he called “the big one,” a plan could “mitigate sea level rise through 2070.” Finkle said that evacuation planning in all cases is needed.

            Finkle then described, as he previous had done, three road improvement scenarios. The first was raising portions of the roadway to 7.5-foot level; secondly, raising the roadway up 6.5 feet; lastly, just providing slope reconfigurations, offering several. He added that the concepts offered would not change the scenic view of the area.

            The culvert that inspired the research project was also discussed. The teams said that repairs to the culvert should be timed with any and all other infrastructural upgrades such as water lines and the beforementioned roadway changes to decrease disruption to residents and to assure emergency vehicle ingress and egress.

            The study was funded by a Coastal Zone Management grant in the amount of $74,981, matched by the town. The primary timeframes of sea level rise were 2030, 2050, and 2070. Cost estimates were shared for both the culvert repairs and roadway improvements. For the culvert, three options ranging from in-kind replacement to enlarged box culverts were estimated between $500,000 and $790,000. But Collyer challenged those numbers, saying they were too low given that other culvert projects in the community either recently completed or currently underway are costing double the amount.

            Regarding roadway improvements, the cost of raising the roadway 6.5 feet ranges from $1,580,000 to $2,220,000, raising the roadway 7.5 feet would cost from $2,130,000 to $3,000,000, and finally, maintaining the road as is, costs zero.

            To view the full report and make comments visit

Mattapoisett Neck Road Flood Resiliency Project

By Marilou Newell

Leave A Comment...