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Construction set to begin on remaining Town Brook relocation, despite conflct with a neighbor

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  May 4, 2012 03:51 PM

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Work on the relocation of Town Brook will soon begin at Revere Road and Mechanic Street, despite one resident's concerns about a section of the brook.

Arline Goodman has been fighting the city’s plans to relocate the Town Brook, a major element of the downtown revialization project, since the plans were unveiled.

She is concerned that the city’s desire to relocate the brook will create a massive angle in the brook near her house, making flooding in her basement exponentially worse.

Mediation between her and the city solved little, and so the issue has gone before a Department of Environmental Protection presiding officer for a hearing.

The officer toured the site on April 27 and is expected to issue a decision about the property in the coming weeks.

Although city officials said they won’t issue a notice for work to proceed at the particular junction near Goodman’s property, work is progressing overall.

“Before that procedure is over, we won’t do anything. But we’re satisfied that the hearing went well,” said Quincy Planning Director Dennis Harrington.

Yet for Goodman, the start of construction has meant that she will either have to live with the city’s re-engineering of the brook – which would shorten it 500 feet and make a 120-degree turn at her property, or be left with a dry ditch if they are required to move it.

Furthermore, the process seems unfairly weighted, said Goodman’s attorney, Stuart Schrier.

“The DEP makes a decision and the DEP hearing officer makes the appeal. Like the DEP is going to overturn their own appeal. The DEP is the presiding officer, and we’re supposed to have the feeling that’s impartial and fair,” Schrier said.

Schrier said his client has felt bullied throughout the proceedings, especially because the city did little to reach out to Goodman initially.

Even after an April 26 meeting about the Town Brook construction, Goodman remains concerned.

“I don’t want them turning my brook right under my dining room window and aiming the brook right for my cellar,” Goodman said. “I wish there was some way for them to talk to me without lawyers talking to lawyers. But there is nobody from the city who has talked to me.”

Regardless, plans have moved forward.

According to Harrington, the contractor – LM Heavy Civil Construction – will begin at the vacant lot on the corner of Revere and Mechanic. The conduit will be coming through that parcel and will begin to tunnel towards Hancock Street.

“It’s being mobilized for construction as we speak,” Harrington said Tuesday. “The resident engineer is going over design details…contract is issued, and they are working on it.”

Construction is expected to take 120-150 days to finish and the conduit will meet up with one already installed on the other side of Hancock Street adjacent to Walter Hannon Parkway.

“Once that progress is satisfactory, and all the final permits are signed, sealed and delivered from DEP, then the contractor will be given a notice to proceed on the Mechanic Street tunnel, those utilities, and the low flow channels to be built down there,” Harrington said.

Additionally, the American Legion post has to be acquired by Street Works – set for June 1 – and be demolished before construction can begin on that property.

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