At Monday night's Town Council meeting, Peter Boyle, project manager and professional engineer from the Fuss & O'Neill engineering firm, along with Kevin Farmer of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service presented the plans for the Pawtuxet River Riverbank Restoration project set to being this fall.
The project which was authorized by the council in February, will result in the permanent restoration of the banks at the Anthony and Concordia Mills to correct damage and erosion sustained during the March 2010 floods and will allow for some mitigation for future flooding.
Boyle explained that crews will reconfigure the river downstream of the spillway, making for a wider, smoother pattern that will concentrate the energy to the center of the river, drastically reducing the damaging effects in the event of another flood. Large sandbags will be used to redirect the water to one side of the river while crews work on the other. In addition, sections of the original stone walls along the river will be reconstructed with concrete and made to look like natural stone.
As approved in February, the project will be funded by a $2.5 million grant from the federal government that required a 10 percent match, split between the owners of both mills. Council President Gary Cote asked Boyle if his projected plans still fell into the grant amount, to which Boyle replied "very close, we're almost on target."
"I just want to be clear that anything over and above what money is available is on you," said Cote. "No taxpayer money will go into this project."
Boyle noted that Fuss & O'Neill will advertise for bids in early August and plan to have a contractor on-site by October. Crews will work through the winter to finish the project within the 8-month time-frame. According to Boyle, the project will not interfere with the reconstruction of the former Laurel Avenue Bridge.
In a later agenda item, the council approved the amendment to the agreement to Fuss & O'Neill, at a cost of $30,100 to accommodate necessary hydraulic design changes. The additional funds will be provided by the NRCS.