MOUNT DESERT — Replacement of two old, undersized culverts that carry Denning Brook under Beech Hill Cross Road is being pushed back a year, until next summer, because of supply chain delays.
Last year, the town received a $125,000 grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help pay for the culvert replacements. And voters at the May 3 town meeting authorized the town to borrow up to $360,000 to pay its share of the total cost of the project.
“The two existing culverts are both in really bad shape,” Public Works Director Tony Smith told the Planning Board last week. “And the day of just taking out one pipe and putting in a new one is gone. We are in the DEP’s Stream Smart program.”
The opening of the new box culvert will be 15 feet wide by 6 feet high. In the flow channel, there will be rocks of various sizes including some a foot or two in diameter. Smaller rocks and pebbles will also be placed inside the culvert to match the composition of the streambed on either side of the culvert.
“That’s so that when the aquatic life comes upstream, it will have places to rest,” Smith said.
One of the existing culverts is about a foot above the water on the downstream side.
“If the aquatic life can’t get up over that 1-foot drop, they can’t continue on upstream,” Smith said. “But in the new box culvert there will be places where aquatic life can get behind a big rock or burrow into the pebbles to take a rest and then continue on.”
The culvert replacement work will be done next year between the middle of July and Oct. 1. That time period is mandated by the DEP to avoid interfering with fish runs coming upstream.
Smith said the general contractor for the project, R.F. Jordan & Sons, has agreed not to increase its price, despite the one-year delay.