EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 14, 2014

Officials say Eastern Marsh trail will reopen

SALISBURY — After years of planning, the million dollar project to rebuild the Town Creek culverts and tide gates intended to prevent future flooding on Bridge Road will hopefully be completed by the end of May.

According to Seabrook Planning Director Lisa Pearson, the work begun in November that tore up the portion of the Old Eastern Marsh Rail Trail that runs across the Town Creek culvert is proceeding, and although it is not quite as far along as it should be, the trail will reopen safely by the end of May for the many who enjoy it.

Pearson said although behind schedule, she finds the work being done on the culvert/tide gate project is of good quality. The roughly $1 million project is being done by Hugo Key and Sons, the Rhode Island contractor who won the bid.

HK&S was under two time restraints, Pearson said. First, due to environmental regulations, the company cannot perform any “silt producing work” in the water past April 15. The in-water repair window is precise to ensure no damage to indigenous species.

Second, the town’s contract with the heavy construction company called for the project to be “substantially complete” by March 15, she said, which it wasn’t. According to the contract, HK&S could face penalties of $500 per day for each day it fails to meet its deadline, she said, but the final decision on penalties is a matter for negotiation that will begin once the project is done.

Pearson said officials from HK&S say that the harsh winter and unforeseen construction difficulties held up the project. But, she added, since the project began, she, Salisbury Public Works Director Donald Levesque, as well as on-site engineers hired to inspect the project, have monitored progress and had to urge the contractor to stay on schedule.

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