CONCORD, Mass. – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Highway Division, is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the United States in conjunction with construction of a bridge in Berkley and Dighton, Mass.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is seeking a permit to discharge dredged and/or fill material in approximately 10,500 square feet of waters of the U.S. and adjacent wetlands associated with the Taunton River, as part of the construction of the permanent Berkley-Dighton Bridge (#B-08-001 = #D-08-011) in Berkley and Dighton. The U.S. Coast Guard, Bridge Branch, is the permitting authority for the bridge structures. The Corps of Engineers only has permitting authority over any filling in waters of the U.S. and adjacent wetlands.
The work is proposed in the Taunton River on Elm Street in Berkley and Center Street in Dighton. The purpose of this proposed project is to provide a permanent replacement bridge. As part of this project, the previous five-span, swing-span drawbridge will be replaced with a wider four-span fixed bridge. This work will include widening of the approach roadway embankments with associated riprap scour protection, the construction of new bridge abutments and three “in-river” piers with associated riprap scour protection, as well as the installation of temporary cofferdams so that “in-river” construction can be completed “in the dry.”
MassDOT has proposed to install a temporary river access/egress ramp along the Berkley shoreline in order to allow for barge access during the construction phase of this project. Approximately 1,096 cubic yards of bottom sediments will be excavated as part of this bridge replacement project. Excavated materials will be disposed of at an approved upland disposal site.
Section 404 impacts associated with this project include roadway embankment fills and the temporary construction river access fill, the construction of new bridge abutments and the three “in-river” piers with associated riprap scour protection, the installation of temporary cofferdams, and site grading for the proposed freshwater wetland and salt marsh compensatory mitigation areas.
The proposed project will impact approximately 10,500 square feet of Essential Fish Habitat for various species and life stages. This habitat consists of sandy intertidal and sub-tidal areas, mudflat intertidal areas, as well as salt marsh and freshwater wetland areas. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect these species. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding Essential Fish Habitat conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.
The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps of Engineers in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in United States waters, including wetlands. The public notice can be viewed on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory/Permitting and then weekly public notices.
Public comments on the Corps permit review (File # NAE-2008-3216) should be forwarded no later than Sept. 9, 2011 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Paul Sneeringer), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Paul Sneeringer at 978-318-8491 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: email@example.com.