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

Published April 15, 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 U.S. in conjunction with replacing a bridge in Williamstown, Mass. MassDOT is proposing the temporary discharge of 1,645 square feet of fill material into the Green River associated with the replacement of the bridge (No. W-37-009) conveying Hopper Road over the Green River in Williamstown.


The purpose of the work is to replace the existing, structurally deficient, functionally obsolete bridge with a new bridge. The proposed work would replace the existing two-span structure with a single span structure. The new abutments would be constructed behind the existing abutments. The existing north abutment would be removed entirely. The existing south abutment would be cut down to the 10-year flood elevation and retained for use as scour protection for the new south abutment, and to create a corridor for wildlife passage.


The area between the old and new abutments will consist of rip-rap topped with compost and seed. The existing center pier would be cut down to the substrate. While the low chord of the new bridge will be slightly lower than the existing bridge, it will be over two feet above the 100-year flood level.  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.  


A temporary bridge would be installed 300 feet downstream at an historic crossing location to act as a detour during construction, with the temporary abutments located behind the existing abutments, and the low chord above the 100-yeard flood level. The temporary bridge would consist of a span with no impacts to waters of the U.S. and will be removed following the completion of construction.


The application for the permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates discharge or fill of material in U. S. waters, including wetlands. Section 404 impacts are limited to the installation of a temporary sandbag cofferdam to allow demolition of the existing center pier to occur under dry conditions. No other work is proposed within the river and flow will be maintained throughout construction. Steps to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands and waterways include installing compost filter tubes to control sediment, conducting demolition work within a sandbag cofferdam to reduce turbidity, and installation of debris nets or similar containment methods to prevent debris from entering the river.


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-2014-00525) should be forwarded no later than May 15, 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. 2014-041