Giving residents plenty of time to get ready, Bridgewater officials announced that High Street at the High Street Bridge will be closed for four months ― starting June 15 ― while the bridge is replaced and a Colonial-era dam downstream is demolished.
The project is designed to allow multiple species of fish ― including alewife, blueback herring, American eel, and American shad ― to migrate more easily to spawning grounds at Lake Nippenicket . The work also is expected to reduce flooding in the area and eliminate the risk of the dam failing, officials said in a statement.
The dam is listed by the state as a “significant hazard dam” in fair condition. About 12½ feet high and 80 feet wide, it sits across the Town River and is considered the “first significant barrier from the ocean on the Town River and Taunton River system,” according to project documents.
Removing the dam — and replacing the 200-year-old bridge with a modern one — “is part of a large-scale project that will help improve coastal ecosystem resilience,” Town Manager Michael Dutton said.
“We understand the inconveniences long-term road closures have, and will share additional information throughout the coming months to help ensure residents in the area and motorists understand and can properly plan for the expected impacts,” he said.
The $5.9 million project is being done by the town of Bridgewater in partnership with multiple state and national agencies and environmental groups. Dutton said the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is paying a large share of the cost, as is the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration .
Johanna Seltz can be reached at [email protected] .