WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Local environmental officials are clashing with the state over the six and a half million dollar construction project in West Springfield.
The state Department of Transportation is duking it out with local leadership over whether they can proceed after being handed two cease and desist orders.
The whole point of the project is to raise the Route 20 Bridge so CSX can fit double stacked freight trains through.
The state and the rail line agreed to those modifications. However, in West Springfield the local Conservation Commission says the D.O.T. never got the proper permits to work within 100 feet of nearby wetlands.
On Charles Ave., there's Squassick Brook nearby and of course that feeds into the Westfield River. There are concerns over siltation, flooding and environmental damage.
D.O.T. says they're exempt from the local regulations because the bridge and its approaches are covered. Local officials point to the state Wetlands Protection Act , which says anything within 100 feet of wetlands is their call.
Conservation Officer Mark Noonan told 22News recent rainy weather has proven the need for oversight. "There was erosion control that was failing and could reach the stream. D.O.T. and their contractors came out and took some measures to protect that. But a proper review by the Commission would have said ‘this is inadequate and you need to do this.'"
Conservation Officer Mark Noonan told 22News he hopes this meeting of the minds will help create a better mutual understanding of the issues.