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Aberjona River-Widening Project Still Waiting to Begin

The river-widening project should begin in the next few weeks.

Winchester is still waiting for the final permits to be approved in order for the to begin.

The contractor has been assigned and trees have been flagged that will be removed, but according to Assistant Town Manager, Mark Twogood, construction can’t begin until the town receives all the necessary permits.

According to Town Engineer, Beth Rudolph, there’s no timetable as to when those permits will be approved.

“The town has spent close to a million dollars for permitting,” Twogood said. “It’s been a very long process. Everything has been laid out and we needed to take everything into consideration, but it’s something that needs to get done.”

Beginning over the next few weeks and continuing into the fall, the town will by 15 feet, which would limit the amount of flooding from the Aberjona. Construction needs to take place during the river’s low-flow period, which is between July and October.

“This is the first major flood mitigation in town,” Twogood said. “Without this project we can’t do any of the other planned projects for the river, which would limit flooding.”

The Aberjona is to be widened between Waterfield Road and Mystic Avenue to minimize the amount of floodwaters that overflow onto and into the Manchester Road neighborhood. Over the last 15 years, Winchester has suffered more than $25 million worth of flood damage due to the Aberjona River.

According to Twogood, before the river can be widened, the water needs to be diverted through the use of pipes. During construction there will be no parking along Mystic Valley Parkway between Waterfield Road and Manchester Road.

Rudolph said that it’s unclear how construction will impact traffic along Mystic Valley Parkway throughout the summer and into the start of the school year.

But Twogood said that this is a project that needs to be done.

“This is something that’s going to help the downtown area, which has been hit very hard with flooding” Twogood said. “They’ve suffered millions of dollars worth of damage and we need to help them.”  

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