Funds secured for Ten Mile River dredging

A $1.5 million grant secured by Congressman Jake Auchincloss will supplement the costs of dredging the Ten Mile River, long a source of flooding in North Attleborough. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
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By Max

North Attleborough will soon receive $1.5 million to begin the process of dredging the Ten Mile River.

Announced on Monday, Congressman Jake Auchincloss secured the funds to supplement the costs of the dredging as part of the House Appropriations Committee’s omnibus spending bill. This bill has passed the House and Senate and will head to the president’s desk for signing. Town officials submitted a funding request to Auchincloss’ office late last year.

It’s a big deal, part of what we have done as a council,” said Council President Justin Pare. “It’s been a two-way street and it’s been good, it’s been effective.”

The work to be done includes dredging the 9,200-foot length between Whiting’s and Falls ponds, which includes two state-maintained culverts. It will also re-establish two small overflow ponds and repair stone walls. The overall goal is to restore the riverway’s capacity and abate flooding in the downtown area that has caused damage and safety issues, such as first responders being delayed by flooded roads.

The Ten Mile River dredging project is currently our greatest priority in the Town’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan as it will help to mitigate potential flooding hazards within our community,” said Town Manager Borg in a statement. “I’d like to thank all community members who assisted in the process of applying for the community funding project request and Congressman Auchincloss’ office for securing these funds for us.”

Borg addressed this topic at the March 14 Town Council meeting, adding that he has reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers, but has not yet heard back.

It’s been a significant amount of time since it’s been dredged,” he said.

The river runs through several communities, including Attleboro, Mansfield, Plainville, Rehobeth, Seekonk, and Wrentham. The Friends of the Ten Mile lead frequent hikes on trails near the river and often speak on proposed developments.

Flooding along the Ten Mile

The Ten Mile River has been the cause of flooding in North Attleborough for some time, but in recent months the problem appears to have worsened. Last fall, the 193-unit apartment complex proposed by Jones Street Residential at 21 East St. came under fire by abutters, who claimed that the project’s insufficient drainage system was the cause of increased flooding into their backyards or homes.

In 2014, the town commissioned the BETA Group to conducted a detailed study of the river and what can be done to alleviate flooding. Recommendations included replacing retaining walls in critical areas, providing stormwater relief in storage areas, and removing sediment that has accumulated in certain areas. All told, the work recommended would cost more than $14 million, and included repairing retaining walls, removing sediment, and installing a barrier system along the Whiting Pond bypass.

In 2020, the town began a project to repair the Chestnut Street Bridge along with the existing water main in Chestnut Street, recommendations made by BETA in 2014. Department of Public Works Director Mark Hollowell said at that time that the bridge is narrow and acts as impediment to the flow of the river, something that would be addressed during its replacement.

It’s a big thing the town needs to fix to mitigate future storms and flooding,” said Hollowell in the fall of 2020.

In a 2019 hazard mitigation report done by BETA Group, it was stated that the Ten Mile River lies within the 100-year floodplain the entire length that flows through North Attleborough. Flooding risks along the Ten Mile River also include portions of Route 1, including multiple intersections along Route 1

Flooding along the river poses a threat to industrial, commercial, and residential area,” the report stated.