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Massachusetts Department of Transportation seeks permit to place fill for bridge replacement in Bellingham

Published April 8, 2014

CONCORD, Mass. – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Highway Division (MassDOT), 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 replacing a bridge in Bellingham, Mass.


MassDOT is proposing the discharge of 441 square feet of fill material into unnamed waters of the U.S. associated with the replacement of the bridge (No. B-06-011) conveying Route 126 over an abandoned CSX railroad bed in Bellingham. The purpose of the work is to replace the existing, structurally deficient, functionally obsolete bridge with a new bridge while also accommodating a potential future shared-use path beneath the bridge. Work would replace the existing three span structure with a 24-foot arch culvert with associated mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls.


Although this project may have only minimal impacts and may be eligible for authorization under the current Massachusetts General Permit, the work is not expected to begin until after the GP expires on Jan. 20, 2015. The applicant is seeking an individual permit to allow for a full five years in which to complete the work.  


The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U. S. waters, including wetlands. Section 404 impacts would result from the relocation of an intermittent stream running adjacent to the rail bed and is necessary in order to install the 24-foot arch culvert and associated MSE walls. The existing 24-inch reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) with drop inlet structure currently conveying the stream below ground under the bridge would be replaced with an at-grade 36-inch RCP located slightly to the north. The work would occur within the 750-foot critical terrestrial habitat of three potential vernal pools.


Steps to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands and waterways include installing compost filter tubes to control sediment, conducting work during low flow periods when the stream is dry, and seeding the relocated stream bed with a native seed mix to prevent erosion.  


The public notice, with more specifics on the proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at  http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx. Public comments on this proposed work (file # NAE-2014-00251) should be forwarded no later than May 8, 2014 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Dan Vasconcelos), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Dan Vasconcelos at 978-318-8653 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: daniel.b.vasconcelos@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2014-039