From Todd Menees, Rivers Program, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Locals and the traveling public will see that a section of the Black River alongside Route 100 in Plymouth below the intersection with Frog City Road is being reconstructed by VTrans over a 2-week period in August and September, 2014. This project is a river restoration effort to bring the Black River channel back up to the original grade that existed prior to Tropical Storm Irene as a result of the unauthorized dredging that occurred in the immediate aftermath of the flood to rebuild the damaged section of Route 100 to restore traffic access between Plymouth and Ludlow.
The project plans were reviewed last year in the design phase and have been authorized by the Vermont Rivers Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project is being reviewed during construction by Todd Menees, VT River Management Engineer, Jim Caulin, VTrans Resident Engineer overseeing the project, and Brian Cote of Milone & MacBroom, the Fluvial Morphologist contracted by VTrans to provide technical assistance and report on the progress of the work effort.
The project requires in-channel wet-work with construction equipment in the river flow due to the nature of the work in reconstructing the river channel back up to the pre-flood existing elevations with large stone rip-rap covered with a foot of in-stream sediment. The reason for the channel bed reconstruction is to restore the channel geometry and to protect the road embankment revetment in future floods. Upon completion, the river channel will be reconstructed to mimic upstream and downstream conditions for fish habitat to the greatest practical extent.
The usual means and methods of bypass of water and control of sediment are not viable due to the large upstream watershed area and steep, deep channel geometry. The work includes two in-stream sediment check dams to moderate sediment discharges and daily monitoring of sediment movement down river to Amherst Lake. The river monitoring last week has indicated that the sediment discharge has settled into the river channel and has not reached Amherst Lake.
The Project Team anticipates that the initial work last week resulted in the greatest sediment discharge and that subsequent work moving upstream will result in diminished sediment discharge in comparison to observed discharge levels last week. The project will continue for about another week and may be delayed due to inclement weather. This public notice is provided as a public education and outreach effort to advise locals and the traveling public about the state government efforts to continue flood resiliency efforts to rebuild Vermont rivers and roads three years after Tropical Storm Irene ravaged our state.