OTIS, Mass. (WWLP) - A $3 million bridge project for a town with fewer than 1500 people.
22News reveals why this project impacts more than just the town where the bridge is located.
The Otis Reservoir rehabilitation project is finished. A director at the Department of Conservation and Recreation told 22News this project has the potential to save lives in the entire region.
"It was a high hazard dam in poor condition so therefore it hit the criteria for it to be rebuilt and refurbished", says Daniel Beauvais, Civil Engineer for the DCR Dam Program.
This dam doesn't just impact people in Otis. As far as safety goes, this project was more important for the people that live downstream.
"We don't think it was ready to collapse or anything, but it was an aging dam built in the 1800's. We rated this dam - high hazard potential, meaning if the dam were to fail, it would most likely cause loss of life downstream", says Bill Salomaa, Director, DCR Office of Dam Safety.
Otis, Tolland, Sandisfield and parts of Connecticut all lie downstream from this dam. Lt. Governor Tim Murray told 22News this project was worth its $3 million price tag.
"You had a temporary bridge acting as a permanent bridge. You had a dam probably not providing the highest level of safety in water management control for the region", says Lt. Governor Murray.
The project includes a new sidewalk, a complete reconstruction of the dam spillway and a new gatehouse. The estimate is that this new dam will last at least 40 years. And now if they know heavy rain like a hurricane is coming. Three days ahead of the storm, they can ensure potential flooding would be at a minimum.
"Now we have the ability, pre-storm conditions, to lower the lake and prevent flooding", says Beauvais.
Lt. Governor Murray told 22News that about 75 people had jobs connected to this project.