Route 2 Drainage Project Won't Change Flooding at Spruces

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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The culverts and berm being installed on the Spruces property is to alleviate flooding on the other side of Route 2, not in the mobile home park.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The state Department of Transportation project under way on the Spruces Mobile Home Park property is going to provide flooding relief for the neighborhood across the road, but it will do nothing to solve the problems at the park itself.
Erik Bilik of MassDOT has discussed the project at Town Hall meetings on a couple of occasions dating back to last September, but some residents may have been confused when they saw contractors installing 3-foot culverts and digging a long trench or swale through the flood-prone park this summer.
On Wednesday, Williamstown Public Works Director Tim Kaiser explained that the new culverts are being installed to alleviate flooding on the south side of Main Street (Route 2).
"It was in response to concerns of people who live on that side of the road about flooding coming down Luce Road," Kaiser said.
Bilik studied the existing drainage last year and determined the culvert under Route 2 was "severely undersized," Kaiser said.
Originally, MassDOT planned to install a 5-foot culvert, but it found that pipe would not work with existing utility lines in the ground. So it went with three 3-foot culverts.
"And they removed a section of 3-foot pipe [on the Spruces lot] down to where the 4-foot pipe begins," Kaiser said.
The 4-foot pipe carries stormwater under the Spruces property and down to the Hoosic River. 
Unfortunately, that 4-foot pipe is not enough to carry all the water that flows into the Spruces property from across the road, and that is why the swale was added "as a buffer," Kaiser said.
"The removal of the smaller [3-foot] diameter pipe in the park and the addition of the swale will mean slightly improved or no worse flooding at the park," he said. "They wanted to make sure [this summer's] work doesn't exacerbate the problem.
"But it does nothing for the real flooding threat, which comes from the river."
Three years ago this month, Tropical Storm Irene caused the Hoosic to overflow its banks, causing the worst flooding in recent memory at the park, destroying 153 homes and setting off a chain of events that will lead to the park's permanent closure in February 2016 under the terms of a FEMA hazard mitigation grant.

Tags: culvert,   flooding,   MassDOT,   Spruces,   

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