Culvert work to close Shutesbury Road in Leverett in October

  • A state road construction sign appears along Interstate 55 in preparation for road work to begin, near Springfield, Ill., Monday, May 16, 2011. Illinois may turn to private companies to help pay for road construction, a move intended to save the state money and create new jobs. Critics, however, question the idea of government teaming up with for-profit companies. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman) Seth Perlman

Staff Writer
Published: 9/26/2022 12:19:21 PM
Modified: 9/26/2022 12:18:32 PM

LEVERETT — A culvert replacement and enhancement project on Shutesbury Road, part of the state’s initiatives to build climate resilience in cities and towns, will require the closing of the road for multiple days during an October holiday weekend.

The project, to be done between Number Six Road to the east and Old Mountain Road to the west, is being covered by a $258,750 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program grant, according to information provided by Town Administrator Marjorie McGinnis.

Construction begins on the afternoon of Oct. 7 and is supposed to be complete by the morning of Oct. 11. Oct. 10 is Columbus Day/ Indigenous Peoples Day.

The idea of doing the work that weekend is to limit the impact of the Shutesbury Road closure on commuters traveling from Shutesbury and Leverett to Amherst, and also avoid affecting the school buses that make their way down the hill to the regional schools in Amherst.

Signs will be placed on Route 202 in Shutesbury alerting people of the detour that weekend, with travelers to Amherst likely going through Pelham instead.

The project builds on Leverett’s climate resilience planning process that was finished in June 2020, and will allow the town to replace the existing culvert, which is corroding and poorly embedded. In its place will be a buried natural streambed-bottom culvert that will open the connection along the stream for fish and wildlife.

Besides protecting an environmentally sensitive area, the project is expected to improve the safety of Shutesbury Road.

Discussion about the project and public comments are being accepted during the Select Board’s Sept. 27 and Oct. 11 meetings, at 7:30 both evenings. The Select Board meets at Town Hall and in virtual format, with a remote link available from its calendar on the town website at https://leverett.ma.us/d/0/?cid=56

Public comments can also be made at project work meetings, with the next one scheduled at the construction site Friday at 9 a.m.

The state’s MVP program has awarded $100 million in funding and technical support to communities. Created in 2017 as part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s Executive Order 569, it is designed to combine local leadership and knowledge with state resources and funding, and address ongoing climate change impacts like the rise of sea levels, more frequent inland flooding, worsening storms and extreme temperatures.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.
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