Improvements to Mill Creek on Prudence Island hit stalemate

Plan for flood mitigation is questioned

By Kristen Ray
Posted 9/23/19

PRUDENCE ISLAND — Nearly two years ago, Portsmouth was awarded a $433,200 grant from the Bay and Watershed Restoration fund for flood mitigation at Mill Creek on Prudence …

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Improvements to Mill Creek on Prudence Island hit stalemate

Plan for flood mitigation is questioned

Posted

PRUDENCE ISLAND — Nearly two years ago, Portsmouth was awarded a $433,200 grant from the Bay and Watershed Restoration fund for flood mitigation at Mill Creek on Prudence Island. 

The town came up with matching funds, and the project went through a final design process. All Public Works Director Brian Woodhead needed was a signature from Robin Weber, moderator of the Prudence Island Water District, and a few others in order to continue moving forward. 

Unhappy with the plans, however, Ms. Weber is hesitant to offer her approval. 

The impasse was discussed during the Town Council’s annual meeting on Prudence Island on Sept. 14.

In order to make enhancements to the salt marsh, the initial design originally sought to raise the roadbed three feet in conjunction with the new culvert. 

The plans sitting before Ms. Weber, however, have slashed the height in half while simultaneously doubling the size of the culvert. While it would succeed in letting water pass through, she said, it did little to address the threat of nor'easters. 

“I don’t know that spending the money on that design is appropriate,” Ms. Weber told the council.

According to Mr. Woodhead, however, engineers had to move to the new design. Otherwise, the neighboring property to the south would suffer from flooding as a result, he said.

“For us to get a permit from CRMC, we cannot do that,” Mr. Woodhead said.

At a stalemate on what to do next, the two sides looked to the council for help. Council President Kevin Aguiar agreed to meet with both Ms. Weber and Mr. Woodhead to figure out a course of action. 

Transfer station issues

Discussion on the island’s transfer station also took up a good portion of the Sept. 14 meeting. Here are some of the items that cater up:

• There are no plans to change operating hours at the transfer station at this time. However, DPW intends to conduct an investigation to determine if altering hours in any way is necessary. 

• Following some pushback from residents, council members decided to look into the “no-trailer” policy for transporting waste on the island. 

• The feasibility of providing a six-month seasonal pass will be investigated following feedback from residents who said that timeframe makes more sense than the current four-month option.

• Yard waste is still accepted at the transfer station. However, if it exceeds the allowable three-foot bundle parameters, residents will have to find alternative methods for disposal.

• Islanders are encouraged to call the two numbers provided inside the orange bags if they continue to experience quality issues.

Utility poles

The plans to relocate utility poles from Nag Creek have been approved. Their movement to Narragansett Avenue and Neck Farm Road is slated to begin in October.  

Road improvements

Council members voted 4-0 to investigate a 10-year-plan for road improvements on the island. Up for consideration is repaving parts of Broadway, as well as extending Narragansett Avenue. 

No speeding

An investigation by the Portsmouth Police Department found most motorists to be compliant with the 20 mph speed limit on Narragansett Avenue. However, if residents continue to be concerned, they were encouraged to either make an anonymous call to the police or have conversations with their neighbors.

Line truck

The line truck dedicated to Prudence Island is being outfitted with National Grid equipment. Once that is completed, it will be delivered and take residency in the fire station.

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