Clipper City Rail Trail Phase II:
On June 28, 2018, officials from the City, MADOT and its consultants, conducted a site walk behind the WWTF. As you know this particular section, along shoreline of the Merrimac River has been found to contain polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) associated with historical railway operations. The City, MADOT and its consultants have worked over the last few months to obtain approval from the US EPA of our plan to remove and properly dispose of PCB soils, so that this segment of the CCRT can subsequently be constructed and opened to the public. EPA approval was finally granted in June, 2018.
Unfortunately, this section of shoreline along the CCRT (Phase II), and behind the WWTF, has been subject to slow but continual shoreline erosion. This is particularly true during the past year, when astronomical high tides have caused shoreline erosion sufficient enough to jeopardize the trail installation (if not immediately, as a consequence of continued storm surge and wave action in the near future). We are preparing an interim shoreline stabilization plan for this section of the CCRT in order to prevent further coastline erosion. This interim stabilization (most likely large scale sand bags) must be installed before PCB soil removal (excavation) can begin, to prevent migration of subsurface contaminants into the Merrimack River.
- It would not be feasible to install permanent shoreline protection with current available funds (either from MADOT and/or the City).
- The timeframe required in developing a revetment plan for shoreline stabilization, obtaining various permit approvals and complete this construction work would delay formal opening of the CCRT (Phase II) and transfer of this new public amenity to the City. [Note: While many residents have been using the Phase II CCRT informally, it has never been formally opened for public use and is still technically under construction by MADOT and its contractor, which have accommodated partial public access without objection.]
- The City has obtained a grant to undertake a feasibility study and schematic design for storm surge protection of the adjacent WWTF.
- The City must design a single (and cost-effective) permanent solution to the shoreline erosion problem, and threats of future storm surge to protect both the CCRT and WWTF.
- This will most likely take the form of a raised bike path (berm) along a stone revetment wall (similar to that recently installed on the nearby National Grid Substation shoreline).
- While officials from the City, MADOT and consulting engineers develop a permanent solution for shoreline stabilization and secure adequate funding for its construction, MADOT will make temporary changes along Water Street to reroute the CCRT between Joppa Park and 115 Water Street.
- In the next week or two consultants will provide the City and MADOT with a schematic plan for the associated signage and striping necessary to provide safe delineation of the bike path link along Water Street. This draft plan will be reviewed and approved by officials from the City and MADOT before installation.
- Project costs for the removal of PCBs, which is still planned for the summer of 2018, has been estimated at between $300,000-$350,000 (±$250,000 from MADOT and $100,000 from US EPA grant funding through the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission).
- While it is unfortunate that the timeframe for opening of this segment of the trail has been delayed, we are pleased that MADOT will be wrapping up work on the remainder of Phase II and transferring it back to the City for open public use.
- City officials will be walking the entire Phase II length later this week to identify a comprehensive “punch list” of outstanding work MADOT’s contractor must complete (per the original design plans), including but not limited to fencing, seeding, landscaping, and replacement of dead trees.
- Project Manager Greg Jones will be working to ensure that MADOT and its contractor complete this work before handoff to the City, and the Parks Department, for ongoing trail maintenance.
- Council President Connell is working on scheduling a site walk with councilors and Planning Office.
- Foundations have been installed to support approximately 60% of the Parking Garage facility. Installation of remaining foundation walls has been delayed pending removal of soils containing asbestos (pipe remains from prior building demolitions on this site).
- During the past few weeks, City and our OPM have been coordinating the removal of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) from the site in consultation with DEP. 24 truckloads of the ACM have been removed and we are awaiting final results of testing to proceed. The cost of ACM removal is approximately $215K with another $25K for structural fill; costs are covered by the $700K contingency.
- At this time, Daily Precast and G&R Construction are planning for the first major deliveries beginning August 6, 2018 and extending through approximately September 14, 2018. Their current estimates are for 10-12 trucks per day, Monday-Friday, spaced roughly 30-45 minutes apart (to allow for crane transfer of materials onto the site).
- We are finalizing the proposed truck route and met with Salisbury last week who submitted a formal letter requesting the truck route not be directed along Rt. 110 over the Gillis Bridge due to high tourism traffic and an 85 year old water main on Bridge road. It now appears they will be coming up Scotland Road (via I-95 Exit 56) in order to reach Route 1 (via Graf Road and Low Street and/or Parker Street). Many public officials have been involved in the vetting of truck routes for deliveries to the project site during the month of August. Despite the overlap with peak summer activities in the City we have done everything we can to minimize adverse impact from both construction activity and truck traffic.
- Police details, signage, parking restrictions, neighborhood flyers and website posting will be coordinated once the route of deliveries is finalized. These details were discussed with the IAG last week.
- By mid-September, the entire “shell” and all structural elements of the building should be in place (including both the abutters screening wall and embedded brick facade panels with simulated “window” openings). After that, contractor work will largely consist of interior work, installation of remaining utilities, and site work like curbing, paving and landscaping. During this time operational equipment, such as the parking access and control systems, security cameras and payment kiosks, will also be installed.
Whittier Bridge: The construction project is coming to completion with a target date of the end of September. We are still finalizing Spring Lane construction, restoration and paving and which components are part of the bridge project and which are mitigation for Walsh/McCourt’s use of City property.
A similar trailhead will be on Newburyport entrance at Park & Ride
Plummer Springs Bridge: Contract for $500K signed today with MADOT for assessment and short term work with BSC. W. Newbury has expressed an interest in supporting work to open the bridge again in the future.
Phillips Dr. Drainage: Received quotes for survey work; working with one homeowner on installing a drain and need a few rainy days to trace excess water that causes ices on the hill section.
Graf Load Lift station: project moving forward well with stairs to pump room and wet well being installed; force main tentatively scheduled to be connected this week. The Motor Control Center will be the next major component for installation in August.
Nock School Parking Lot: project started today; parking restrictions posted with staff using EMO site.
Roadway Rehabilitation / Spot Repair program
- Doe Run Drive – Milling Complete
- Dove Street – Full depth construction underway
- Ferry Road at Erie Avenue – Reviewing limits of work / cost
- High Street – Evaluating limit of work
- Lavalley Lane – Completed
- Longfellow Drive – Completed
- Marquand Lane – Completed
- Merrimac Street – Reviewing limits of work / cost
- Opportunity Way – Completed
- Plum Island Turnpike – Completed
- Russia Street – Full Depth construction underway
- Water Street @ Independent Street – completed
- Wildwood Drive – Milling complete
USCG Sector Boston: On July 6th Captain Claudia Gelzer retired and Captain Eric Doucette assumed command in a ceremony at Faneuil Hall. I had the opportunity to also meet the new Commander Rear Admiral Andrew Tionsong. We are hoping for their attendance at Coast Guard events during Yankee Homecoming.
Station River Merrimack: Change of command will occur on July 25th at 10 am at the CG station. Chief Brown was only here a year but his skills are exemplary and he is in demand.
Resiliency Plan: I encourage and recommend the passage of the $15,000 transfer for the development of a critical document that combines the past years of work of the ad hoc Resiliciency Committee on storm surge, identification of critical assets at-risk and plans for protection. This is a requirement for many potential grants.
Our MVP listening session was held on June 28th with positive feedback and a vibrant Q&A with about 70 people.
HV Cultivation site: KP Law has provided a draft model Community Host Agreement and we held a productive meeting with Michael Reardon and his attorney to begin the development of this document.
Personnel: We are completing interviews for HR Director and hope to have new director in place by next month.
Head Librarian: The Library Trustees voted unanimously to approve the promotion of Giselle Stevens to Head Librarian. Cynthia Dadd retires on August 10th and our sincerest thanks for the leadership she has provided at the library for the past 5 years. Ms. Stevens assumes her new position on August 13th.
NEWBURYPORT ELECTION: On July 7th, the Senate engrossed H 4249 Authorizing the City of Newburyport to hold a special election for the purpose of accepting the terms of Clause 41C½ of Section 5 Chapter 59 of the Massachusetts General Laws.