Morey's Bridge Dam completion delayed by work on fish ladder - Taunton

By Marc Larocque

Taunton Daily Gazette
Staff Reporter
Posted Jun 03, 2013 @ 11:26 PM


Contractors working for the state to finish the Morey's Bridge Dam project hit a snag and won't be done until near the end of summer.

While the state Department of Transportation originally anticipated finishing the project in late March this year, that has now changed, for two reasons, said an agency spokesman.

First of all, the city of Taunton requested that the state go back and do some more work on the sidewalk adjacent to the bridge, removing and resetting the curbs and modifying drainage structures in the area.

Also, the DOT responded to requests for an upgrade to the fish and eel ladders that were originally built as part of the dam, which regulates water levels at Lake Sabbatia, by releasing water into the Mill River, which leads four miles through the center of the city to the Taunton River.

"The other reason is for the installation of some more sophistic equipment that would allow fish and eels to pass through the dam," MassDOT spokesman Michale Verseckes said. "There were some concerns that it may not function properly, and that what we had initially would not provide the necessary means for fish and eels to pass through. There were quite a few requests for us to upgrade, from some of the environmental stakeholders in the area."

Verseckes said the main issue is a new eel ladder. But he said it's a component that can be installed into the existing structure, without revamping the dam.

"When all said and done, we're looking at September to be complete," Verseckes said, "with all the sidewalk and drainage stuff and dam modifications."

Verseckes said, on a positive note, the bridge portion of the project was finished on schedule back in December and that there will be no more effects on traffic in the area. Last year, there was a detour because of the construction project, but Verseckes said that workers this summer will be doing their work on the side of the bridge and under it.

Verseckes said the DOT is in the process of ordering some of the basic elements of the fish and eel ladders, before turning them over to fish and wildlife experts for fabrication. For that reason, there is currently no estimate on how much the new fish and eel ladders will cost, he said.

The $4.3 million project, which started last March, was contracted to the Lowell-based S&R Corporation.

Contact Marc Larocque at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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