WILLIAMSTOWN -- A culvert replacement is expected to keep Latham Street closed for at least two more weeks, according to Director of Public Works Tim Kaiser.
"This is reminiscent of the [Spring Street reconstruction]," Kaiser told Selectmen at their Monday night meeting. "You should be afraid when you dig a whole in an old downtown street like this because there's all kinds of skeletons buried, and we found them all."
Initial estimates called for the installation of an 18 foot wide and five foot deep culvert carrying Christmas Brook under Latham Street at a cost of $297,000 to be completed by the end of August.
Kaiser said one delay occurred when the contractor, Greenfield-based C.D. Davenport, uncovered the original retaining wall.
"It's about six feet thick, eight feet tall, and 30 feet long," he said. "It's a solid continuous unit that was cast in place with the original culvert."
Workers also found that a space for telecommunication lines protruded into the space the culvert needed to occupy, he said.
"Working with Verizon, we got them to chip away all the concrete so we can get the box culvert in," he said.
"The contractor has been marvelous to work with," Kaiser added. "They're very responsive, they do good work, and they're great problem solvers.
In other business, Selectmen responded to residents' concerns over flooding on a Main Street property.
Main Street residents Chanda and Mark Shin said their home lies just west of a culvert draining water from Luce Road.
"Twice in the last four months, it has backed up and flooded our property and the highway," Chanda said. "Our house was forced to act like a dam for Main Street."
The house saw substantial flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and more recently in a heavy rainstorm on Sept. 2, she said.
Town Manager Peter Fohlin explained Selectmen could do little -- the flooding problem was under the local Conservation Commission's jurisdiction, he said, and the road is managed by MassHighway.
Recent communications from MassHighway have been positive, he said, and a public hearing was scheduled between MassHighway and the Conservation Commission on Sept. 26.
"This isn't just a meeting to talk about this," Fohlin said. "It's an application from MassHighway to upgrade the infrastructure on Route 2...this is the first time MassHighway has stepped forward and decided to address their portion of the problem."
Kaiser said he didn't feel work at North Adams Airport influenced the flooding from the Luce Road watershed.
"I think the biggest issue is the increase in rainfall and the intensity," he said.
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