Planning ahead for extreme weather

CORNWALL — A summer of heavy rain left roads and bridges worse for wear in Cornwall. 

WMC Engineers recently took boring samples of land near the retaining wall for the Mill Brook crossing on River Road. The abutment was damaged by raging rapids  and is in need of replacement.

“I have not yet gotten the results whether they hit ledge or just large boulders. In Cornwall, you get one or the other if you go down far enough,” said Ridgway. 

WMC was hired to design the new retaining wall. Ridgway said the plan is to remove the rock wall currently in place and build a reinforced concrete wall.

Designs are expected to be completed by the end of September. Once received, Cornwall will seek bids for the work.

“We’re compiling a list of qualified contractors, giving them a heads-up this project is in the works, so hopefully we can get a bid proposal out by the first of October,” said Ridgway.

Once a contractor has been selected, a town meeting will be required to approve the work. The Board planned to add this to the annual town meeting scheduled for Nov. 3.

The board discussed options for addressing and preventing flood damage in town, which has become more regular in recent years.

“Between the health of our forests, the size of our culverts, the extreme weather that we seem to be having regularly… different events all seem to be hitting some records,” said Ridgway. 

Deficiencies in Cornwall’s culvert system were noted during rains in July this year, causing the board to consider updates in preparation for the future.

“If we can make it so that water can go directly to the river… that would have a couple wins. And the [Housatonic Railroad Company] was very interested in participating in that,” said Ridgway.

Ridgway discussed programs at the state level aimed at improving resiliency to extreme weather events. 

“We might be able to borrow some ideas or latch on to some programs,” he said.

“Better to get out in front of it,” said Selectman Janet Carlson.

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