Weymouth takes a ‘holistic approach’ to improve coastline

Mayor Robert Hedlund said his administration is taking a “holistic approach” to upgrade Weymouth Neck’s shoreline.

“We have work going on in three areas,” he said.

Fort Point Road seawall upgrade  

The planned upgrades include; completing a final design for a seawall upgrade near Fort Point Road,

I Hedlund said frequent severe storms have flooded Weymouth’s coastline and put residents and properties “in harm’s way.”

“The town is taking full advantage of an unprecedented influx of money from the federal government during the past two years for coastal mitigation,” he said.

Weymouth received a $137,000 grant from the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs in 2020 to begin designing a seawall and improving street drainage.

Hedlund said it was “tough” for engineers to complete that work because a homeowner would not give the workers an easement to access the planned upgrade sites.

 “We worked a year-and-a-half to get that work done,” he said.

Hedlund said Weymouth received $102,980 from the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs last year to fund a final design for a new seawall on Fort Point Road.

“When we get the design work done, we can go back to the state to get a construction grant,” he said.

Hedlund said his administration recently applied for a $114,400 FEMA grant to create bid documents for contractors that want to upgrade the seawall.   

Fort Point Road resident Kevin Harris said his neighborhood “greatly anticipates seeing the final seawall designs.”

“We are very happy this is moving forward,” said Harris, chairman of the Massachusetts Coastal Coalition, a non-profit group that educates on flood hazards. “The seawall has been under discussion 12 years, and the fact that it is coming closer to fruition is important. We need to have a barrier against these more frequent severe storms. The seawall in its current state has sections that are undermined.”

Fort Point Road resident Kevin Harris shows how high the water got in his renovated garage during a Dec. 26-27, 2010 nor'easter that caused flooding in the neighborhood. [Patriot Ledger File Photo}

Harris said he and the Coastal Coalition are willing to “help the town in any way it can” to design an upgraded seawall.

Beach parking, River Street upgrades 

Hedlund said plans are in the works to eliminate flooding in a Lane Beach parking lot and on River Street.

“We got a number of flooding issues in the parking lot,” he said. “That parking lot provides access to the Back River and a boat ramp. We have had a lot of flooding down there.”

George Lane Beach and River Street in North Weymouth were underwater during high tide during a powerful winter storm on March 2, 2018

Hedlund said his administration is seeking a $262,500 state Seaport Economic Council grant for engineers to study flood-prone areas along a 650-foot section of River Street and the 150,000 square foot parking lot.

Potential upgrades may involve raising the height of River Street and the parking lot to prevent flooding. 

“The bathhouse (on Lane Beach) may be part of that too,” he said. “It might be elevated and rehabbed.”

Back River dredging 

Hedlund said plans are in the works to complete “long overdue dredging” in the Back River near the Lane Beach parking lot and replace an adjacent boat ramp.

“The reason for the project is the natural effects of currents and tides cause silt to accumulate in the channel, which has gotten shallower near the boat launch,” he said.

Plans are in the works to remove silt from the Back River near this boat ramp.

Weymouth recently received a $600,000 grant from the Seaport Economic Council in 2018 to complete the dredging and replace the boat ramp.

A town summary states the engineering analysis should be completed during autumn 2022.

Wessagusset Beach walkway

Hedlund’s administration hopes to accept bids in late spring from contractors that want to construct a concrete beach walkway that would link Lane and Wessagusset Beaches.

“We just got a $1 million grant from the (state) Seaport Economic Council,” he said. “That grant came on the heels of a grant to do the design work, which has been wrapped up.”

More:State awards town $1 million to connect beaches

A planned walkway between Wessagusset and Lane beaches will allow beach goers to enjoy a walk without navigating a rocky shoreline.

Harris said the 8-foot walkway would eliminate large rocky surfaces for beach goers to walk on between the beaches.

“There are truly hazardous sections, and to get from one beach to another, you are climbing over rocks at high tide, “he said.

Coastal embankment upgrades 

The $1 million grant will help finance a coastal embankment project near the planned walkway.

The upgrades will involve; reconstructing 1,000 feet of rock revetment along the bottom of the coastal bank between Wessagusset and Lanes beaches, constructing a 1,000-foot concrete walkway to the top of the revetment, constructing stairs over the coastal bank from the concrete walkway to the Wessagusset Road parking area, creating a handicap vehicle access area near the waterfront and removing invasive plants.

Hedlund said his administration will have “ bids advertised this spring for that work.”

Construction is scheduled to begin in late autumn of 2022 and be completed by the end of 2024.

Hedlund said the projects would cost  $6.5 million. The expenses would also be covered through a town Host Community Agreement with Enbridge, which operates the natural gas compressor station near the Fore River.