The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is in the midst of undertaking a $25 million shore protection project at Winthrop Beach. As anyone who watches TV news weather reports knows, during major storms, Winthrop Beach is routinely subject to overtopping of the seawall and major flooding of Winthrop Shore Drive and surrounding roads and properties. DCR’s much-needed shore protection project is designed to better fortify Winthrop Beach against the full force of northeast storms and natural beach erosion.
Work completed from 2012-2014 includes placement of approximately 500,000 cubic yards of storm protection berm material on the beach; reconstruction of five pre-existing stone groins; construction of a new terminal groin at the northerly end of the beach; and sea wall repairs and improvements to the Pearl Avenue beach entrance. Work was completed in three phases:
Phase 1 - Structural Repairs to three groins on the southerly portion of the beach. Completed in December 2012.
Phase 2 - Restoration of the southerly portion of the beach utilizing sediments that had naturally accreted behind the Winthrop Beach breakwaters known as “The Five Sisters.” Completed in May 2013.
Phase 3 – Seawall repairs, upgrades to the Pearl Avenue entrance, and restoration of the northerly portion of the beach. Material used for beach restoration included sand, gravel, and stone obtained from the abandoned Route 95 road bed in Rumney Marsh, Saugus, as well as rounded stone and cobble purchased from other sources. Though some contract work remains to be completed at Rumney Marsh, placement of storm protection berm material was completed in December 2014.
Design is underway for the fourth phase of work – reconstruction of Winthrop Shore Drive. This phase entails full-width reconstruction of Winthrop Shore Drive, including widened handicapped-accessible sidewalks; installation of visitor amenities such as benches, bicycle racks, and shower towers at primary beach entryways; repairs to sea wall railings; and upgrades to the storm water drainage system. Phase four construction is planned to commence in the fall of 2016.
The Winthrop Beach Renourishment Project complements a separate project by expanding a planned salt marsh restoration at DCR’s Rumney Marsh Reservation in Saugus. The Rumney Marsh restoration project is currently in the design refinement and permitting phase.
Two Week Look Ahead
December 19, 2016 - January 1, 2017
The following activities are anticipated over the next two weeks.
Rumney Marsh, Saugus
- The construction trailer at the Ballard Street parking lot will be removed from the site in late December or early January. Other construction work has ceased for the winter. In the spring, the contractor will complete remaining “punch list” work.
- The environmental monitor will continue to observe conditions of the slopes and erosion control devices.
- Construction activities have been completed for this phase of the project. The next phase of the project, Reconstruction of Winthrop Shore Drive, is planned to begin in the spring of 2017. Prior to breaking ground, a public meeting will be held to apprise residents of pending construction activities, traffic detours, etc. The public meeting date, time and location will be determined, and advertised, in early 2017.
Questions or concerns about the project should be directed to DCR Resident Engineer Steve Colometo, at the DCR trailer at the Rumney Marsh parking area on Ballard Street, Saugus, by visit or phone (781-558-2876) during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. In case of an emergency, contact 911 or DCR’s 24/7 emergency hotline at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at 508-820-1428.
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