Hawley, Leyden garner culvert replacement grants

  • Leyden has received an $84,000 grant to conduct field data collection and analysis, as well as design and engineering, to replace this culvert over Glen Brook, along Coates Road. Staff Photo/DAN LITTLE

  • Leyden has received an $84,000 grant to conduct field data collection and analysis, as well as design and engineering, to replace this culvert over Glen Brook, along Coates Road. Staff Photo/DAN LITTLE

  • Leyden has received an $84,000 grant to conduct field data collection and analysis, as well as design and engineering, to replace this culvert over Glen Brook, along Coates Road. Staff Photo/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/28/2020 1:45:20 PM

Hawley and Leyden are among the beneficiaries of the Baker-Polito Administration’s recent announcement of $806,880 in grants to support culvert replacement projects that improve municipal roads and river health.

Hawley was awarded $40,000 to conduct field data collection and analysis to replace a culvert for King Brook, under Route 8A near Stetson Road. Hawley Administrative Assistant Cass Nawrocki said the money will cover a study.

“It’s one little step, but it’s helpful,” Nawrocki said.

Hawley will apply for further grants to cover design and construction of the culvert, she said. Ultimately, upgrading the culvert will improve infrastructure resilience to better withstand severe weather events, and will provide for wildlife access.

Meanwhile, Leyden was awarded $84,000 to conduct field data collection and analysis, as well as design and engineering, to replace a culvert over Glen Brook, along Coates Road, which is a dead end. Upgrading the culvert will enhance public safety, as the road under which the culvert lies is the only access route for homes in the area, said Leyden Municipal Assistant Michele Giarusso.

“When the culvert is flooded there are three houses that can’t get out,” Giarusso explained. “We need rain but, with climate change, when it comes it just floods.”

She said next steps in the process will see the town hire an engineering firm to design the new culvert. Leyden will then have to apply for further funding during the next grant cycle to actually build it.

Provided by the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, the grants help communities replace undersized and deteriorating culverts with crossings that meet updated design standards for fish and wildlife passage, river health and storm resiliency.

“Failing and undersized culverts can negatively impact communities in many ways, from causing flooding or road failures during storms, to preventing wildlife from accessing necessary habitat,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said in a press release.

According to the release, nearly half of Massachusetts’ estimated 25,000 small bridges and culverts act as barriers to fish and wildlife because they are undersized or poorly positioned. As high-intensity rainfall becomes more frequent and severe due to climate change, culvert bottlenecks can cause floodwaters to overtop roads, resulting in washouts and road closures.

Installing culverts that meet the Massachusetts River and Stream Crossing Standards allows rivers to flow unrestricted and with lower risk of flood damage, the release states. Recent studies have found that culverts designed to meet these standards are also often less expensive than in-kind culvert replacements.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.




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