Stony Brook Salt Marsh Restoration Work Gets Underway This Fall

In early October, the town of Brewster will begin construction on the Stony Brook Salt Marsh and Fish Passage Restoration Project. The project is located on the stretch of Route 6A that crosses over Stony Brook marsh, west of the intersection of Route 6A and Lower Road and east of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.

Locus Map

This important restoration project will restore 20 acres of salt marsh and improve the herring run which provides access to 386 acres of herring spawning habitat in five ponds.

Restoration work involves replacing the undersized culvert under Route 6A with an 18-foot-wide box culvert that will improve seawater flow to the marsh south of the highway. The restoration of tidal flow will benefit salt marsh, rare species, fish, wildlife, and water quality. By enabling flood waters to flow out faster to Cape Cod Bay, it should also provide better flood control. In addition, replacement of the culvert will enable the failing roadway in this section of highway to be repaired.

The installation of the culvert will involve work on the entire roadbed of Route 6A, so the section between A P Newcomb Road and Paines Creek Road will be closed to through-traffic from October 12 to November 19. Local businesses and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History will remain open during this period and local traffic to these businesses and residences will continue. Signage will direct traffic to businesses and the detour. Since February, the town has been working closely with business owners to minimize disruptions.

The construction schedule is very tight and was developed in response to a number of constraints. Construction was set for mid-to-late fall to meet seasonal restrictions set by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The town also wanted to minimize disruption to local businesses and residents and avoid construction during the Thanksgiving holiday. Since February, the town has been working closely with business owners to minimize disruptions.

The schedule for construction and road closure of Route 6A is given below, together with information on the detour (subject to change). The town will also post information and updates on its website at http://www.town.brewster.ma.us/ .

A smaller construction project will be carried out along a foot trail that crosses the marsh south of Route 6A. This project will improve seawater flow beneath the Lee Baldwin Trail and provide a viewing platform in a nearby upland area. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History will remain open during this period, but the trail will be closed until construction is finished.

Since 2006, the town and its partners have been working together in planning the restoration project. Partners include the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, NOAA Habitat Restoration Center, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the Massachusetts Bays Program and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History which owns the marsh.

The project is funded by a $1.647 million federal stimulus grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through NOAA to the town of Brewster. Brewster was one of only 50 grant recipients in this nationwide NOAA-ARRA grant program. The grant was originally for $1,362,600, but this spring, the town requested and received an additional $285,000 to cover unanticipated costs related to additional permitting, traffic management, and engineering of a temporary by-pass culvert that will allow herring and other fish to pass unharmed through the construction site.

Schedule for Construction and Road Closing

September, 2010: Pre-construction activities - Route 6A remains open

Pre-construction activities occurring in September include setting up detour signs, temporarily rerouting the water main, staging equipment, installing a temporary pipe to allow young herring to migrate, and installing cofferdams in the streambed to keep water out of the construction site during construction. During September, Route 6A will remain open; however, drivers are asked to exercise caution and to slow down if they see workers or equipment on or near the road.

October 12 to November 19, 2010: Construction phase - Route 6A will be closed to through-traffic, take detour, businesses remain open

From October 12 to November 19, there will be major construction work on the culvert. This work will require closure of a section of Route 6A to through-traffic during this period, and such traffic will need to detour. The closed section of Route 6A is along the Stony Brook salt marsh. The detour is shown on the Detour Map.

Detour Map

Eastbound traffic: Vehicles traveling eastbound along Route 6A will turn right onto A P Newcomb Road, left onto Satucket and continue on Stony Brook Road to a left on Paines Creek Road to return to Route 6A.

Westbound traffic: Westbound travelers coming from the center of Brewster along Route 6A will turn left onto Paines Creek Road, right onto Stony Brook Road, continue on Satucket and then right on A P Newcomb to return to Route 6A.

Businesses will remain open as usual during this entire period, and local traffic will be allowed through. Signage will direct traffic to businesses and the detour.

After November 19, 2010:

All construction should be completed, with the possible exception of the final coat of asphalt paving which may need to be put off to next spring due to winter weather.

For information and updates, check the town of Brewster’s webpage at http://www.town.brewster.ma.us/ or contact Chris Miller at 508-896-3701 x 103.