ADAMS -- Work began this week on the embankment across the road from the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum on East Road, a slope stabilization project that could be completed within four to five weeks, weather permitting, according to Department of Public Works Superintendent Tom Satko.
"They'll put in 10-foot-wide tiers of compacted stone that will look like a staircase, and on top of the stone, the original embankment will be restored with loam and planted trees," said Satko.
Damage to the bank was caused by flooding in the nearby Tophet Brook during Tropical Storm Irene in August. Engineers initially estimated that the project would cost around $600,000.
The project was put out to bid on Dec. 13, and bids were received by Dec. 20. According to Satko, bid amounts ranged across the board, with one reaching as high as $758,000, but the project was awarded to D R Billings, Inc., of Lanesborough for a price of $297,500. The National Resources Conservation Service will reimburse 75 percent of the project's cost.
D R Billings workers began engineering, setting grades, performing test borings and taking soil samples for the project last week. They were removing trees Monday, and on Thursday, a temporary road was cut for the purpose of hauling materials during construction. The next step will be to place riprap at the bottom of the embankment, below the level of the stream.
Satko said one of the reasons NRCS is paying for the project is because the eroded embankment has potentially put the nearby home and property of resident Albion Brown in danger.
Another reason, however, concerns wildlife protection.
"The longnose sucker," said Satko. "I'm just finding out about it myself, like how we found out about all the different kinds of salamanders up at the Glen."
The longnose sucker is a species of freshwater fish, dark green in color and normally growing to between 15 and 25 inches long. It's normally found in cold, mountain streams, and its characteristic feature is a protracted snout adapted to bottom feeding.
Progress is also being made on the damage to East Road at the intersection with Lime Street, another area impacted by Irene. The last headwall will be poured Friday and guardrails are also scheduled to be installed.
Satko hopes to have the road reopened by Monday, Jan. 9 at the latest.
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