Mother Nature pulled a not so funny April Fools on Massachusetts residents. The rain finally subsided in New England yesterday bringing over 18 inches of recorded rainfall, a record breaking amount. Although dry weather and warmer temperatures are foretasted for Easter weekend the flooding rivers are not expected to fall as quickly as the clearing weather. Residents, engineers and public safety officials wait for the flood warnings to be removed and clean up to commence once more.
As some rivers have yet to crest other’s levels have just begun falling. The Assabet River crested at a nerve wrecking 7 feet Wednesday and remained at 6.8 feet this morning. The Concord River crested at an enormous 9.4 feet and the Charles River continues to rise expecting to crest at about 7.7 feet this afternoon.
According to the National Weather Service El Niño, a climate pattern surfacing in the tropical Pacific every three to five years and is to blame for the high levels of rainfall this past March. Rainfall in Boston lingering around 14 inches Tuesday makes it not only the rainiest March on record, but the second wettest month ever after a rainy August in 1995.
“This is much worse than a couple weeks ago. We’ve got houses with 3, 4, 5 or even 6 feet of water in their basements.” – Ferreira
Scott LacLeod, a spokesman for the state Emergency Management Agency, said the largest concerns yesterday were in southeastern Massachusetts, where flooding mandated closure of a major highway and cut off about 1,000 residents of Freetown when a bridge was made impassable. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation reported dozens of flooded roads and caution residents to drive safely while standing water remains on the roads.
Early March Governor Deval Patrick visited the Interstate 190 Bridge passing over Route 12 in Worcester emphasizing the quick and early success of the Patrick – Murray Administration’s eight year Accelerated Bridge Program. This program was implemented to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state while creating construction jobs on the bridge projects. Short of two years the Accelerated Bridge Program has completed 13 bridge projects with 62 additional projects continuing or commencing this next spring and summer.
“Though our administration inherited hundreds of structurally deficient bridges, we have and will continue to make significant investments to repair these bridges through the successful implementation of our Accelerated Bridge Program. By strategically investing in our infrastructure, we will not only improve the safety for our residents, but will also create immediate and needed jobs across the state.”
– Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray
Massachsuetts Department of Transportation has been working with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to use accelerated state of the art project development and construction techniques. Working together the two departments will complete projects on-time, on-budget and with minimum inconveniences to residents and drivers.
Since the program’s implementation in May of 2008 the number of structurally deficient bridges has decreased more than 9% falling from 543 to 494. An expected minimum of 200 bridge projects will be completed in the eight-year program. Under Patrick’s lead the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has reduced time for construction contract advertisement to construction beginning from 218 days in 2008 to 124 days in 2009. Advanced construction techniques and precast construction have assisted in the faster completion of projects while causing less of a disturbance throughout communities local to construction sites.