NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 2, 2013

Rebuild of Town Creek culvert begins

Work will stop flooding to area businesses, town officials say

SALISBURY — Crews are rebuilding the Town Creek trestle and culvert, hopefully ending the threat to Bridge Road businesses owners that its failure would again flood out their establishments as has done twice in recent years.

In 2007, it was the rain, winds and extremely high tides of the Patriots Day storm that collapsed the old railroad trestle over Town Creek, a tributary of the Merrimack River. The catastrophe sent water coursing into local businesses, as well as closing the northern portion of Bridge Road, or Route 1, twice a day, at every high tide for a week.

For Harbor Garden Center, Gordon’s Sew and Vac, David’s Fish Market, Hudson’s Outboard and others, the scenario devastated their businesses for weeks, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost inventory, lost income, flood damage and clean-up costs. For drivers and residents, it shut down the region’s second major north/south corridor to daily travel and emergency vehicles.

It was the second time floods impacted the area, Lamprey said. The first time was the Mother’s Day storm of 2006 that brought record amounts of rain, which invaded his business and others until the waters receded.

After the 2007 breach of the trestle, Salisbury hired SPS New England, a local heavy construction company, to make emergency repairs. But even at a cost of about $350,000, the work was temporary, said Salisbury Public Works Director Donald Levesque. Although the town received most of its expenditure back from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster funding, officials knew a permanent, more expensive remedy was necessary so history didn’t continue to repeat itself.

News those repairs are about to begin has been well received.

Matthew Blaney, owner of Gordon’s Sew and Vac, said it meant he could relax when he hears storm forecasts.

“It’s excellent news,” Blaney said. “When a big storm came, you never knew what was going to happen, or if you’d get to your business and have a very bad day.”

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