The dredging will remove vegetation and sediment that are encroaching on the lake threatening to destroy it.
A $1.8 million bond was approved at the March 2019 Town Meeting to hire a contractor for the project. The town settled upon Dredgit, a Texas-based contractor, to begin work on the lake in Spring 2020, and finish by the end of summer. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company was unable to begin work on the project as planned.
The town was informed by Dredgit that if the project was not completed this year, the details of their contract would have to be reviewed and could result in a price increase of 20%-50%.
Select Board Member Margot Fleischman expressed her concern for the price increase due to the town’s current economic situation, saying “I think that the financial impact of not allowing the extra hours is very significant, and given the circumstances that we’re in I would be concerned if the project was significantly over-budget.”
In order to finish the project this year, Dredgit would need to be permitted to work 7 days per week, a significant increase from the initial plan of 5 days per week. The Board ultimately approved Dredgit to work 7 days a week, from 7 am to 7 pm until Labor Day, but noted the importance of keeping residents engaged and informed.
Select Board Chair Ed Pierce explained that the project would result in noise and traffic disturbances in the surrounding area, so it is especially important to be as conscientious about informing residents as possible.
The board plans to arrange a public meeting with neighbors and hopes to include a representative from Dredgit at the meeting to answer any questions from the community. Letters will also be sent to all residents on Sweetwater Ave with updates regarding the construction and meeting.
A 7-day work permit is not unheard of in Bedford, as the Board has approved a similar schedule for work at The Davis School.