RIVER NEWS - January 2018
Route 28 Bridge Replacement
Friends of Bass River initiated a meeting just before the holidays to discuss the proposed $17.5M Route 28 Bass River Bridge replacement slated to begin in 2020. This meeting brought many officials together for the first time, including MassDOT project manager Joe Pavao, representatives from the architectural design and engineering firms HDR and Howard Stein Hudson, and Yarmouth and Dennis town government. Discussion centered on the outline of initial steps for the multi-year project and potential impacts the new bridge may have on the river. FOBR treated the group to a slide show history of the bridge and conveyed our hope for a design with fewer foundation pilings to maximize flow. While no one in the room would promise us our dream of a Zakim Bridge-like open expanse, there was reassurance that there will be many meetings in the near future to listen to questions and concerns before design begins. FOBR intends to be there throughout the process to collaborate with all parties to ensure that the best interest of the river is always in the forefront.
A Look Ahead
January 2018 - MassDOT to issue a press release and launch project website.
February 2018 - small special interest group meetings to begin.
February/March 2018 - additional surveying on the bridge to commence.
March 2018 - MassDOT to hold a larger public forum.
Our recent frigid spell hasn’t slowed down the December/January dredging project at the southern end of the river according to Karl von Hone, Town of Yarmouth Natural Resources Director. With its completion, potentially 10,000 cubic yards of material will have been removed from the Route 28 Bridge to the southern tip of Marsh Island, including the main navigational channel and the spur channel between West Dennis Beach and Marsh Island. This work should improve flow as well as depth and width of these channels in some areas. A survey will be conducted later this spring to determine if additional dredging will be necessary in the approach channel at the mouth of the river.
Bridging the Gap
The long awaited Rail Trail connection between Dennis and Yarmouth is getting closer to reality! The 165-foot pedestrian and bicycle bridge across Bass River near North Main Street (adjacent to Route 6) is scheduled to be installed in the first half of January according to the Mass DOT. This is the third link in the larger project to extend the Cape Cod Rail Trail by 3.7 miles and connect Yarmouth and Dennis with the Lower Cape. You can read the full Cape Cod Times article here.
As River News reported last fall, the completed widening of the channel helped to substantially reduce the velocity of the flow under the bridge and increase the volume of water to the south. The additional dredging that is planned for this project will further help with tidal flushing in the nitrogen overloaded Follins Pond area (something that is badly needed). This improved flow should almost double the tidal flushing from the upper river. Final completion for all facets of this project is slated for November 2018.
Sawdust for your septic? Maybe. Experts are “cautiously optimistic” that a 75% reduction of the nitrogen processed through septic systems can be removed and converted to gas just by adding modified sawdust to Title 5 systems. Read more about the science behind this here and learn what every homeowner can do to help our nitrogen problem.