Herring River Restoration Project Commences With Construction of Chequessett Neck Road Bridge

Mar 3, 2023

Wellfleet, MA. After decades of planning, construction of the first and largest piece of infrastructure needed to restore tidal flow to the Herring River estuary in Wellfleet, is getting underway.

The Town of Wellfleet hired MIG Corporation of Acton, MA to remove a portion of the existing earthen dike at Chequessett Neck Road and build a new bridge equipped with sluice gates. The sluice gates will control the rate of tidal exchange between Wellfleet Harbor and the Herring River estuary. The $31 million bridge project is funded by a portion of $59 million in grants received by the Town from the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration.

Construction activity will start with the clearing of a staging area adjacent to the bridge site. The twenty-four-month construction schedule calls for installation of a temporary bypass bridge this summer to allow continuous vehicle and pedestrian access during the construction of the permanent bridge structure. Fish passage will be maintained throughout construction.

Chequessett Neck Road will remain open throughout construction, with occasional temporary lane closures. Regular construction updates, including planned lane closures, will be posted on the Town website at https://www.wellfleet-ma.gov/. A Transportation Management Plan providing additional detail about the use of local roads during construction will be available to the public in the coming weeks.

The Town has engaged Environmental Partners of Quincy, MA to provide construction oversight. Questions about construction activity should be emailed to herringriver@EnvPartners.com.

The Herring River Restoration Project is being undertaken by the Town of Wellfleet and Cape Cod National Seashore to address degraded water quality and habitat caused by loss of tidal flow, and regain the extensive ecological and community benefits of a healthy estuary. Additional support for the project has come from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Friends of Herring River.

Earlier this month, the Cape Cod National Seashore began vegetation clearing in the Duck Harbor area needed for the restoration project. A contractor is clearing and chipping woody vegetation that has been salt-killed by the persistent tidal over-wash at Duck Harbor beach. Vegetation clearing will continue through the end of March. This work is funded by a portion of a $2 million grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to Ducks Unlimited.