Monday, August 28, 2017
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Patrick J. Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, have announced that preliminary geotechnical investigation has been completed and the Main Greeting Road entrance to Forest Park can be reopened today at 2:00 p.m. Also, the Park Department will be opening the Hard Top Tennis Courts today with an opening ceremony planned for late September. The courts were closed due to the heavy equipment required to test the road way and parking areas were utilized for staging the equipment.
Six test borings were advanced to depths of 35 to 50 feet below the ground surface to investigate the integrity of the embankment supporting the road. No evidence of significant voids or other geotechnical instability was observed. The information gained will be used in the evaluation and design of permanent remedial actions. The city will continue precautionary measures in reopening the road, including daily monitoring of the Swan Pond water level and routine inspection of the downstream slope of the embankment for erosion or other instability. When the level of Swan Pond rises to a depth significantly greater than the normal spillway elevation, the excess water will be removed by pumping or other means. All of the temporary piping installed for the recent dewatering has been left in place ensuring future drawdowns can occur on an as-needed basis and without re-closing the road. The City will initiate design and bid this winter for a spring replacement. The City is working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to release funds earmarked in the Environmental Bond Bill.
New England Boring Contractors performed the soil borings, with engineering oversight provided by GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.
Mayor Sarno Stated, “I appreciate the residents’ patience and understanding during this geotechnical investigative work. I am happy to announce the road can be reopened and ensure the structure is safe for park patrons. My office has been in contact with the Governor and Lt. Governor and I am confident we will have good news as we review the options in the rebuilding of the road and culvert. I appreciate the cooperation received from Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito, and EEA Secretary Beaton in exploring all avenues to repair or rebuild this earthen structure and culvert. We will be finalizing our preliminary engineering report at the end of this week and submitting it to the Commonwealth for their review. As always, our Governor is only a phone call away to assist our city and this is greatly appreciated.”
Patrick Sullivan stated, “The Springfield Park Commission is thankful for Mayor Sarno’s immediate response in providing the resources to properly draw down Swan Pond and prevent further deterioration of the earthen embankment supporting Main Greeting Road. At the completion of the drawdown last week, it became apparent that the culvert is collapsed or otherwise plugged and water was seeping through the embankment soils. This necessitated having to take soil borings to determine the integrity of the road infrastructure prior to reopening. The testing results indicated there were no voids in the embankment below the road, however we will be performing daily monitoring of the level of the pond as well as the western slope of the embankment. Once funding is secured we can initiate the design and a construction schedule. It would be our desire to rebuild by next spring.”