After delays, culvert work near Lake Wyola to begin again


Staff Writer

Published: 08-24-2023 10:06 AM

SHUTESBURY — A long-awaited culvert replacement near Lake Wyola, this year delayed due to significant rainfall and wet weather in the spring and summer, is expected to commence in the coming weeks, after the Select Board recently approved installation of a much larger bypass pipe for the Sawmill River during construction.

The Select Board’s 3-0 vote at its Aug. 15 meeting means the total project cost for the work at Locks Pond Road at Lake Drive will increase from $1.011 million to $1.036 million. The decision should allow the project, which began in 2021, to be completed this construction season, rather than being pushed back to 2024.

“It’s a precautionary move we have to make,” said Select Board member Eric Stocker.

The culvert project will necessitate detours for some drivers, who will be sent on Montague and Leverett roads in Shutesbury and North Leverett and Cave Hill roads in Leverett during the three to four weeks the road is closed. Wendell Road, on the east side of Lake Wyola, will be open for local traffic only.

Matt Styckiewicz, project manager with Nitsch Engineering of Boston, told the Select Board that culvert projects are typically done in July, August and September, but this year was not optimal conditions for doing the work, with the existing temporary bypass pipe overwhelmed.

Styckiewicz recommended use of a 48-inch temporary bypass pipe, instead, which can handle 40 cubic feet per second from the pond. The original bypass pipe could only handle 19 to 20 cubic feet per second, which most years is sufficient in summer. Styckiewicz also advised against waiting another year, as it could be more costly, there would be no assurance of improved conditions and the existing culvert will continue to deteriorate, with corrosion and section loss at its base. There is also steep embankment and erosion and guardrails along the road that are not up to current safety standards.

MAS Building & Bridge in Norfolk was awarded the contract with a $674,788 bid. The project is also being paid for with a $500,000 Municipal Small Bridges state grant, awarded in 2018, $201,007 in borrowing, $250,000 from the stabilization account and $60,000 from the capital stabilization account.

The project was previously delayed for a year, in 2021, when a National Grid utility pole had to be moved, and in 2022 when pre-cast concrete pieces for the new culvert couldn’t be put in place by a crane, instead having to be stored off site.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at]]>

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