Reconstruction of the Charles Street Bridge in Adams has been approved by the Conservation Commission.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Conservation Commission has approved the tearing down and reconstruction of the Charles Street Bridge.
Hurricane Irene in 2011 washed out the bridge, and while it wasn’t completely destroyed, the town was not sure if they wanted to fix it. But the town applied for and received a federal community development block grant for disaster recovery for $230,000 to move forward with the project.
Dan Lovett with Hill Engineering told the commission on Thursday that the bridge will be an improvement form the last one, as it will be wider and more secure.
“It is definitely an improvement as far as stream-crossing guidelines go, and the new footprint is actually smaller than the existing bridge even though the span is greater,” Lovett said. “In the end, there is a little less impact to the river front.”
Lovett said the stream likely will flood again, so they tried to make the bridge as big as possible.
“We tried to get the biggest bridge that we could because this brook does flood, but we were restricted because we were running against the height of the bridge and we couldn’t get much higher,” he said.
Commission member James Fassell was concerned about the gas line that caused the washout in the first place.
A pipe under the bridge picked up debris and caused flooding as well as a possible explosion.
“The pipe created an obstacle, and with the pipe below the bridge, you are asking for the same problem you had before,” Fassell said. “If that gas line wasn’t there, this probably wouldn’t have happened.”
Lovett said the new bridge will have no utilities, but there is a gas line downstream that will not be touched.
Commission member Corey Bishop said the gas line is not the engineer’s responsibility but it is an issue they would have to bring up with the gas company.
“That is not their responsibility, and this project has nothing to do with the gas line,” Bishop said. “It’s not in their way, and they aren’t touching it. It is not in the scope of this project.”
The commission decided to ask emergency services to look at the gas line and see if it is something that could be a potential hazard. Commission member Thomas Robinson said the town should check and it shouldn’t be a huge issue to fix.
“I would suggest that the emergency management should look at it and let them make a decision,” he said. “If they feel as though it needs to be done, let’s do it.”