Broadmeadow Rd. Flooding Solutions Floated
by Connie Sartini
Broadmeadow Road, one of the historic byways in the center of town, is well-known for its capacity for flooding, oftentimes resulting in the closure of the road. The road bisects the Broadmeadow swamp and the water from the swamp drains under Old Ayer Road into James Brook. The brook follows along the east side of Old Ayer Road to Smith Street, where it crosses under the road again and works its way along until it reaches the Ayer town line.
Broadmeadow was once a real meadow that was used for growing hay. It was not water logged because a maze of drainage ditches directed the water toward the brook. For years those ditches did their job, but over time they filled with soil that blocked them.
Dept. of Public Works Director Tom Delaney and Land Use Director Takashi Tada met with the Select Board to discuss potential options to try to remedy the flooding.
Delaney told the Board that the road is floating on logs and is starting to sink down to the bedrock. He said that one possibility is to drain the swamp, as was done 10 years ago. Delaney pointed to the successful work done at Mayfield Farm, where the fields are now dry after the dredging of the ditches.
Another possibility is to create a cul-de-sac on Broadmeadow Road, then the dirt road behind Groton Electric Company could be paved from Station Ave. to Broadmeadow Road.
Either way, Delaney said the town would have to move the dirt out of the ditches every 10 years. He added that an article for dredging would run about $40,000.
Selectman Josh Degen said, “I have been watching this for 30 years, and saw no major issues until 15 years ago. It sinks into muck. I can understand the neighbors’ concerns. I think a cul-de-sac is premature. Let’s clean it out and once it dries, build back up the surface. I’d like to see the path of least resistance and see if it works out.”
Acting Chairman Alison Manugian said she agreed with Degen, and asked Delaney, “What do we do if we don’t get the money at Town Meeting?”
Town Manager Mark Haddad said funds might be available from Free Cash or the Capital Stabilization Fund. “We will have to look at our finances,” he said.
Select Board member John Giger said he would like to “get the channels opened and see,” adding, “I can’t rationalize a bridge across there.”
On a motion from Selectman Degen, the Board voted to add an article to the Spring Town Meeting Warrant for the purpose of opening up the drainage channels from Broadmeadow to James Brook, based on the amount determined from the DPW Director.