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It this a bridge too far? Work planned on Boundary Street Bridge.

Byline: Kevin Baldwin

NORTHBORO - MassHighway is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work in the water and to discharge fill of the Boundary Street Bridge, which is on the Northboro line and used by many town drivers.

The work is being done in conjunction with the replacement of the Boundary Street Bridge.

According to Permit Project Manager Paul Sneeringer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MassHighway proposes to discharge dredged and/or fill material in the water under the bridge, but also includes any work in jurisdictional wetlands associated with the Assabet River which may be required in order to replace the bridge.

However, the permit being filed for actually applies to work being done in all waters in the United States.

DPW manager Kara Buzinoski said the bridge has been a problem for a number of years.

"When there are heavy rains or downpours, there can be problems with the water elevation," Buzanoski said. "The bridge was built very low and, as a result, it winds up flooding periodically, which is why MassHighway want to come in and rebuild the bridge."

In a press release from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MassHighway is currently reviewing several replacement alternatives for the bridge, but this work will impact 72 square meters (or 0.018 acre) of water surrounding the bridge.

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 U.S. waters, including wetlands.

In Section 404, it states the work being completed falls in compliance with and would be for "the purpose of maintenance, including emergency reconstruction of recently damaged parts, of currently serviceable structures such as dikes, dams, levees, groins, riprap, breakwaters, causeways, and bridge abutments or approaches, and transportation structures."

According to Marlboro City Engineer Tom Cullen, the bridge has historically been known to flood during rain which can cause both delays and detours for people who use Boundary Street to commute to and from work.

"This has been going on before my time in the city," Cullen said. "While the city of Marlboro owns the bridge, MassHighway is actually going to be the project manager for the repairs. The reason for this is because of the resources required for bridge replacement. MassHighway has the proper resources to facilitate the construction of this $2 million project."

No set timetable has been put into place in order for the construction to begin, according to Cullen, who said the work is being done because of structural deficiencies found in both bridges after routine inspections performed by MassHighway.

"The inspections were performed for any structure of 20 feet," Cullen said. "The work being done is intended to tie in the construction of two separate bridges in the area, the Robin Hill Bridge and the Boundary Street Bridge, which are both over the Assabet River."

Because of detours expected as a result of either one or the other bridges construction, Cullen said MassHighway's timetable will have to have the bridges being worked on at separate times.

"The approximate construction time will be 18 months per structure, with Robin Hill Bridge being worked on first," Cullen said. "Potentially, MassHigway could be working through the winter as long as conditions meet their specifications."



CUTLINE: The Boundary Street Bridge could be repaired by MassHighway.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 13, 2007
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