Massasoit State Park Dams – Rehabilitation of Five Dams

Weston & Sampson provided design, permitting, bidding, and construction services for the rehabilitation of four significant hazard embankment dams and one high hazard embankment dam within Massasoit State Park in Taunton. A densely forested conservation area, the park is home to six lakes and ponds and over 120 campground sites.

The dams impounding Middle Pond and Big Bearhole Pond had fallen into disrepair and were no longer in compliance with the current jurisdictional dam safety regulations. The dams were in “poor” overall condition, meaning that significant structural, operational, and maintenance deficiencies were clearly recognized under normal sunny-day conditions. Such deficiencies included uncontrolled embankment seepage, marginally stable slopes, excessive embankment erosion, and deteriorating outlet structures. The embankments themselves were largely obscured by excessive woody vegetation growing on and around the earthen structures, making required inspections more challenging and less effective.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) sought to improve the condition of these important earthen structures and selected Weston & Sampson to design the necessary repairs and rehabilitations in compliance with current state dam safety regulations. Given the nature and location of the dams, Weston & Sampson worked closely with DCR and Massasoit State Park officials to incorporate recreational park improvements into the project. Dam safety improvements included removal of undesirable vegetation from the embankments, restoration of concrete outlet structures, installation of new outlet control devices, decommissioning of secondary (non-used) outlets, installation of seepage control filters with perforated collection pipes, slope armoring, and general restoration of the embankments including slope regrading to improve stability and facilitate mowing. Park and landscape improvements included resurfacing of walking paths, construction of a timber pavilion structure, roadway (crest) improvements, beach restoration, ADA-compliant pedestrian access to specific areas, and several other requests made by park officials during the design process. Weston & Sampson considered strict deadlines associated with camping season, pond level management, and special requirements associated with unavoidable impacts to environmentally sensitive areas.


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