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A roadside pond is being constructed next to Route 2 West by Exit 52A to collect and treat stormwater runoff.

A roadside pond is being constructed next to Route 2 West by Exit 52A to collect and treat stormwater runoff.

MassDOT is not only replacing bridges for the Route 2/I-95 Bridge Replacement Project in Lexington, it’s also taking steps to ensure the surrounding environment is protected and improved (see the project map on our website).

“Greening” measures will safeguard a key neighbor of the construction site from pollution, the Hobbs Brook Reservoir and its watershed, which is a source of drinking water for the City of Cambridge.

Protecting the environment, including nearby drinking water supplies, is an essential part of any MassDOT project. To protect this vital resource, MassDOT will construct a landscape buffer between Route 2 West and the Hobbs Brook Reservoir. The buffer will consist of more than 50 deciduous trees, more than 50 evergreen trees, and more than 400 shrubs. These native plants will act as natural water filters and defend against erosion and sediment buildup. Along with these ecological methods of protection, permanent, man-made stormwater management upgrades will be added to the existing system.

The proper management of stormwater runoff (rain or melting snow) is especially crucial near drinking water supplies like the Hobbs Brook Reservoir. Stormwater carries debris and pollutants from the roadway to waterbodies such as streams and reservoirs.

Cross section of a gravel wetland, an innovative method being used on the Route 2/I-95 Bridge Replacement Project to filter pollution from stormwater runoff.

Cross section of a gravel wetland, an innovative method being used on the Route 2/I-95 Bridge Replacement Project to filter pollution from stormwater runoff.

Throughout the Route 2/I-95 site, the reservoir is shielded from the construction. Onsite systems will capture and treat stormwater during construction and after it’s complete. Conventional catch basins will be upgraded to remove more pollutants before releasing runoff into storm drains. The project will also construct roadside ponds or basins to collect and treat runoff as it’s absorbed into the ground before flowing to nearby waterbodies. These basins and ponds are built differently depending on their location and how much treatment they must provide. They typically rely on natural features, such as plants, to filter runoff. MassDOT’s innovative spirit extends beyond its choice of Intelligent Compaction for the Route 2/I-95 project to environmental protection. An even more complex environmental improvement will be the creation of six wetland areas that use a gravel base to remove more pollutants.

3-D view of a gravel wetland.

3-D view of a gravel wetland.

Water quality isn’t the only environmental facet being protected. Crews are also removing invasive (non-native) plant species, such as phragmites (common reed) and Japanese knotweed. Invasive species crowd out our native plant life and create a lower quality habitat for wildlife. MassDOT will replant species native to our state to help restore and strengthen the surrounding ecosystem.

All of these environmental protection measures provide an example of “green” technologies that MassDOT is using to protect public safety and the environment for our customers – now and in the future.

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