Erosion control?

This morning Wayne Chouinard, Arlington’s new Town Engineer, met briefly with me at the Cottage Ave. entrance to the Alewife Greenway Path for a quick tour of the erosion and drainage problems there.

The view East Southeast from Cottage Ave. includes a persistent puddle of water (background) and an eroded cut in the new path (foreground).

The path has been under construction since last July and the entrance is not finished yet.

The erosion has only gotten worse since I last described this issue. Rainwater runoff strikes the path entrance on its southern side with enough force to wash away a kind of trench in the stone-dust path and gravel sub-strait.

Looking WSW from the path, the second puddle fills the foreground. The eroded trench, though distant, is still visible from this angle.

Furthermore, the runoff collects in puddles on the path itself, northeast and southeast of the entrance.

The Mass. Departments of Transportation and of Conservation and Recreation are building the path mostly with federal stimulus money.

They are least generally aware of these problems and have have wisely stopped repairing the entry path every time it rains. These agencies told Wayne that “the completed design will handle the water and direct it away from the path.”

This is promising, but (from my point of view) still uncertain.

Runoff has washed away a good-sized ditch. (View is west towards Cottage Ave.)

The entryway is obviously not finished yet, but the design we saw last summer would not solve the erosion and drainage problems.

So, does the state have a new design that “will handle the water and direct it away from the path”? Does it have the full picture?

Probably yes, but if there is any doubt Wayne will bring the project team up to date when it meets next Tuesday. He took many photos.

The project team does not answer questions from the likes of me, or I would simply be able to report what the team’s plans are, instead of fretting here and talking to Wayne.

Wayne is a much better messenger than I for obvious reasons, so I am glad things worked out this way. However, this is not a Town project and the Town Engineer’s role is only advisory.

Let’s hope the project team members take his information into account—if they have not already done so.

This blog about Mass. Ave. occasionally detours north along the Alewife for reports about the construction of the Greenway path.

You can read the previous of these Alewife posts from last month, or the first one from last July, or all of them together (but in backwards order—blogs are funny that way). Update: More here.

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