Saturday, October 18, 2014

RED PINE TREES ON WATER SUPPLY PROPERTY IN RAPID DECLINE DUE TO NEW PEST



Red pine scale (Matsucoccus resinosae) has been identified on water supply property near the City’s drinking water reservoirs.  The scale is a small, non-native insect that has been present in Massachusetts for some time.  Once red pine scale is present within a forest stand, it will likely infect all red pines resulting in complete mortality within 1-2 years. Red pines, a non-native species, were planted in small monocultures, generally in the 1930s, and were intended to stabilize the soil thereby protecting the water quality of the reservoirs.   There are 37 red pine stands and sub-stands in six towns, totaling about 234 acres, or a little less than 7% of the approximate 3,444 acres of forest owned by the City of Northampton adjacent to the City water supply reservoirs.   The red pine stands are located in water supply property located in Northampton, Westhampton, Hatfield, Conway, Whately and Williamsburg. 
Red Pine Tree Removal
The Forest Stewardship Plans, completed between 2011-2013, for the forested water supply property at the Ryan and West Whately; Mountain Street and Roberts Meadow Reservoirs noted that the red pine stands were in a state of decline due to a number of pests and pathogens including various bark beetles especially Ips calligraphus, which girdle trees by feeding under the bark; Diplodia tip blight/canker, a fungus that causes girdling cankers in the twigs; a needle-cast fungus that causes needles to break in half or fall off altogether; and armilaria root rot fungus, which girdles roots and the root collar of the tree.  However, the scale was not evident during the completion of these plans. Included in the stewardship plans, were silvicultural recommendations to gradually transition the red pine stands to native forest type. The presence of scale will accelerate this transition as the City will take steps to harvest some of the red pine trees.   
The red pines will be managed in a number of ways as follows:
  • Trees that are still alive and are accessible may be harvested;
  • Trees that are still alive and inaccessible will not be harvested;
  • Trees that are already dead and pose no safety hazard will remain;
  • Trees that are already dead and pose a safety hazard will be cut down wherever possible.
 Please contact James R. Laurila, P.E. City Engineer at 587-1570 if you need more information.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Paving Construction Update - Week of October 20th

Warner Bros., LLC will continue grading and compacting Sylvester Road. Due to the narrowness of the roadway, Sylvester Road will be OPEN TO LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY during grading and compaction operations. All other traffic will be DETOURED along Chesterfield Road, Spring Street and Ryan Road. Please plan accordingly and seek alternate routes.

Repaving of the raised crosswalks on North Street is tentatively scheduled for Thursday or Friday, weather permitting.

The reclaiming of Bridge Road from Jackson Street to Francis Street will not begin until the Spring of 2015.

Motorists: please be aware of road construction operations, obey directions from traffic control officers and use caution when passing work crews. Contact the DPW at 587-1570 if you need more information.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coles Meadow Road Paving

The Dept. of Public Works will be box paving the center sections of Coles Meadow Road on Wednesday, October 15th between 7:30 am to 3pm. The road will be closed to through traffic during paving. Motorists should seek alternate routes. Local traffic will have access but delays are to be anticipated.  Please be aware of the road construction and take caution while passing work crews. If you need more information please contact the DPW at 413-587-1570.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Paving Construction Update - Week of October 13th

Warner Bros., LLC will begin grading and compacting Sylvester Road on Tuedsay, October 14th. There will be no road work on Monday, October 13th.

Due to the narrowness of the roadway, Sylvester Road will be OPEN TO LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY during grading and compaction operations. All other traffic will be DETOURED along Chesterfield Road, Spring Street and Ryan Road. Please plan accordingly and seek alternate routes.

A Department of Public works crew plans to complete box paving on Coles Meadow Road as weather and scheduling allow. The road will be reduced to one lane of traffic during times of the blacktop operation.

The reclaiming of Bridge Road from Jackson Street to Francis Street will not begin until the Spring of 2015.

Motorists: please be aware of road construction operations, obey directions from traffic control officers and take caution while passing work crews. Contact the DPW at 587-1570 if you need more information.

Partial Holyoke Street Closure

A section of Holyoke Street will be closed between Pleasant Street (Route 5) and Hawley Street starting on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 until Friday November 28, 2014.  The section of Holyoke Street that will be closed to through traffic is at the railroad overpass near the intersection of Hawley Street.  Local traffic can still get as far as the overpass on either side.  The closure will take place Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. This project may cause delays in travel time and the traveling public should seek alternative routes.

Repairs to the railroad overpass is contracted  through MassDOT as part of the Knowledge Corridor Project which will bring high speed rail service to Northampton and points beyond.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Forest Managment Update

-- Invited by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Sr. Environmental Scientist, Nicole Sanford and consulting forester, Michael Mauri presented at the Massachusetts Town Forests Symposium on October 5, 2014.  The focus of the symposium was connecting local communities with sustainable forestry.  DPW presented on the forestry initiatives that have occurred on water supply property over the past three years.

-- Timber harvests are scheduled to begin this October and continue through the winter.  Specifics regarding these harvests (Year 1 and Year 2 Implementation Cutting Plans) can be found on DPW’s website as well as the overall Forest Stewardship Plans for all water supply property.

-- A forest walk of the failed Williamsburg Reservoir Dam Site will be held on Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 9 AM to 11 AM.  The walk begins at the end of Judd Lane in Williamsburg.  Carpooling is advised due to limited parking along Judd Lane.  DPW staff, the consulting forester and members of the Williamsburg Historical Society will lead a walk of the failed Williamsburg Reservoir dam site to discuss the historical significance of the site and the forest stewardship plans for this important historic area.  Click here for a flyer for this upcoming forest walk.

-- Finally, red pine scale (Matsucoccus resinosae) has recently been identified on water supply property.  The scale is a small insect that has been moving north since the 1960s.  Once the red pine scale is present within the forest stand it will likely infect all red pines resulting in complete mortality within 1-2 years.  DPW staff and the consulting forester, together with the Board of Public Works, are in the process of determining next steps to deal with this potential loss of canopy in certain watershed forest stands.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Paving Construction Update - Week of October 6th

Warner Bros., LLC will begin reclaiming Sylvester Road on Tuedsay, October 7th. There will be no road work on Monday, October 6th.

Due to the narrowness of the roadway, Sylvester Road will be OPEN TO LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY during reclaiming and grading operations. All other traffic will be DETOURED along Chesterfield Road, Spring Street and Ryan Road. Please plan accordingly and seek alternate routes.

A Department of Public works crew will continue with box paving on Coles Meadow Road as weather and scheduling allow. The road will be reduced to one lane of traffic during times of the blacktop operation.

Motorists: please be aware of road construction operations, obey directions from traffic control officers and take caution while passing work crews. Contact the DPW at 587-1570 if you need more information.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Paving Construction Update - Week of September 29th

Warner Bros., LLC will be setting grades on Sylvester Road in preparation for reclaiming the roadway. The road will be open to two-way traffic and construction activities will be light during the week. Minor traffic delays may occur.

A Department of Public works crew will continue with box paving on Coles Meadow Road. The road will be reduced to one lane of traffic during times of the blacktop operation. Motorists please be aware of the road construction and take caution while passing work crews.

Reclaiming of Sylvester Road is anticipated to begin the week of October 6th. Due to the narrowness of the roadway, Sylvester Road will be OPEN TO LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY during reclaiming and grading operations. All other traffic will be DETOURED along Chesterfield Road, Spring Street and Ryan Road. Please plan accordingly and seek alternate routes.

Please be considerate of the work areas, obey directions from traffic control officers and take caution when passing work crews. Contact the DPW at 587-1570 if you need more information.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Coles Meadow Road Paving

The Dept. of Public Works will begin box paving operations on Coles Meadow Road September 24th 2014, between 7am to 3pm. The paving operation will continue all week long, and may continue the following week of September 29th 2014.

The road will be reduced to one lane of traffic during times of the blacktop operation. Motorists please be aware of the road construction and take caution while passing work crews. This blog will be updated as needed during this construction project; if you need more information please contact the D.P.W. at 413-587-1570.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Paving Construction Update - Week of September 22nd

For the first half of the week, Warner Brothers will be working on installing new drainage structures and culvert crossings at several locations on SYLVESTER ROAD. The road will be OPEN TO LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY. All other traffic will be DETOURED along Chesterfield Road, Spring Street and Ryan Road. Please plan accordingly.

On Thursday and Friday, Warner Brothers is scheduled to mill and rebuild the three raised crosswalks on NORTH STREET to more clearly define their profile and improve their effectiveness. Short detours around the work will be required. If the work is not completed on Friday, any remaining work will be completed at a time yet to be determined. 

Please be considerate of the work area and obey directions from traffic control officers and contact the DPW at 587-1570 if you need more information. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Paving Construction Update - Week of September 15th

For the week of September 15th, Warner Brothers will continue working on driveway and sidewalk transitions to rebuilt handicap access ramps, loam and seeding of disturbed areas and other miscellaneous work. The work will primarily be located on Chestnut, Main and North Main Streets in Florence. One way traffic may be required in the immediate work area resulting in minor traffic delays. Please be considerate of the work area and obey directions from traffic control officers.

Preliminary drainage work may begin next week on Sylvester Road depending on the contractor's work flow and crew availability.

Please contact the DPW at 587-1570 if you need more information.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Paving Construction Update - Week of September 8th

For the week of September 8th, weather permitting, Warner Brothers will continue working on driveway and sidewalk transitions to the newly paved streets and rebuilt handicap access ramps and other miscellaneous work, and Markings, Inc. will continue painting traffic control markings. On Wednesday and Friday, preliminary work will begin on Sylvester Road.

If possible, motorists should seek alternate routes to avoid construction and possible delays. One way traffic will be maintained during line painting. Two way traffic will generally be maintained during sidewalk and driveway work. On Street parking will not be allowed in Florence on Wednesday to paint parking spaces. Line painting is a moving operation and motorists should expect minor delays. Please be considerate of the operation, obey directions from traffic control officers and avoid driving on newly painted lines.

Monday, 9/8
  • Line Painting - Various newly paved streets
  • Sidewalks, Driveways, etc. - Chestnut and Main Streets 
Tuesday, 9/9
  • Line Painting - Various newly paved streets
  • Sidewalks, Driveways, etc. - Chestnut and Main Streets
Wednesday, 9/10
  • Line Painting - Downtown Florence Parking Spaces
  • Sidewalks, Driveways, etc. - North Main Street
  • Erosion control measures - Sylvester Road
Thursday, 9/11
  • Sidewalks, Driveways, etc. - North Main Street
Friday, 9/12
  • Sidewalks, Driveways, etc. - North Main Street
  • Test pits - Sylvester Road
Please contact the DPW at 587-1570 if you need more information.

Thank you for being patient and considerate during the construction process.