Culvert under Elm Street bridge to be repaired

Feb 19, 2021

A repair at the Parker Mill Pond Dam under Elm Street has been approved, but it will not reopen Elm Street.

The Elm Street bridge was closed in 2014. 

An August 2014 report said the dam “faces a multitude of repairs in order to maintain public safety” and that an inspection showed “unstable upstream wall sections, sinkholes and leakage... and deterioration of concrete,” as just some of the problems, according to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Selectman Peter Teitelbaum said that the question of the dam’s ownership is still unsettled. After the town filed suit against A.D. Makepeace about the issue in 2018, the case was dismissed, but talks continue between the town and the company.

Teitelbaum said that once the dam’s ownership is established, it is yet undecided whether it will be repaired or removed completely. 

In addition to the main Elm Street bridge, a smaller footbridge over an adjacent culvert that leads to the Tremont Nail Factory also needs to be repaired.

By 2018, the state had awarded the town a $165,000 grant and an $835,000, two-percent-interest loan toward the $1.2 million dam repair project. Those funds were later forfeited due to the dispute over the dam’s ownership.

The town still has a $500,000 small bridge grant which will pay for the repair of the culvert.

Matthew Styckiewicz of Nitsch Engineering said that the culvert repair would not fully repair the dam. 

To repair the culvert, a smaller culvert will be placed within the existing one -- a solution determined to be the cheapest and least damaging to the environment. 

Work will be restricted so that no underwater work will take place during the herring breeding season from March 15 to June 15.

The work was unanimously approved by the Conservation Commission at the board’s Feb. 17 meeting.