By Kim Siebert MacPhail
It is likely that the bridge on Ashby Road that spans Elm Brook will be repaired before cold weather sets in. On September 6th, GZA GeoEnvironmental presented schematic drawings to Bedford’s Conservation Commission on behalf of EMD Millipore—a scientific research and technology concern owned by the Merck Group. As many of Millipore’s Wiggins Avenue employees use the bridge to get to commute to work, the company intends to repair the structure at its own expense. While some details of the plan remain to be finalized before the Commission votes its official approval, most of the aspects of GZA’s design were found to be more than acceptable.
Representatives from GZA showed designs for the Elm Brook culvert crossing, which is just north of the intersection of Wiggins Avenue and Ashby Road. The GZA team spoke of “surface water more or less cascading over the top and badly deteriorating [the structure]. The general intent is to repair the façade of these headwalls and also to do some re-grading to prevent water from continuing to cascade over the top.”
A board has been placed on the structure as a temporary measure to stop the flow of water, but the board has deteriorated.
The repairs will require working in the stream bed, but GZA specified that the work there would be done by hand, with no heavy equipment used in the water.
While construction is in progress, one lane of the bridge will remain open. Upon completion of the project, the bridge will have improved water flow, better run-off control, new guardrails, pedestrian walkways,new headwalls with a “bold façade,” granite curbing, and fresh riprap—a style and size of foundation stonework that will make the bridge both more sound and visually appealing.
Conservation Commission member Steve Hagan observed that GZA and Millipore are “going beyond what is needed.”
Conservation Administrator Elizabeth Bagdonas agreed that it is great that Millipore has stepped forward to do the repairs, because they needed to be done [and it would otherwise have been an expense for the Town].
Once the repair plans have been modified as requested, the public hearing on the matter will resume, probably at the next Conservation Commission on September 12th when approval is expected. Following approval, GZA says that the work on the bridge will begin almost immediately.