Ice chunks on the Millers River closed a bridge in Athol

Franklin County

ATHOL, Mass. (WWLP) – Massive chunks of ice line both banks of the Millers River in Athol.

“I havent seen anything like this in 30 years, said Athol resident, Ken Vaidulas. “A friend of mine owns the building near the south end street bridge and his cellar is flooded out.”

The frozen river broke up this weekend, and huge chunks of ice crashed into the Exchange Street Bridge Saturday. The bridge has been closed since Saturday morning when pipes underneath the bridge snapped off because of all the ice that built up. Town officials have requested MassDOT to conduct an inspection to help determine when they can reopen the bridge.

The town evacuated the Morton Meadow housing complex Satuday, as a precaution because the Millers River flows directly behind it. The river dropped to 4 feet Sunday, but there’ still concern about ice jams downstream.

“The issue that remains today is army corps of engineers have had to increase the flow, the release of water from the tully dam and the birch hill dam and we need to ensure the safety of our residents,” said Athol Town Manager, Shaun Suhoski.

“Everything is freezing over again as you can see. All of this ice right here has to go somewhere at some point, so we are not out of the woods yet, said Athol Fire Chief John Duguay.

Chief Duguay told 22News their main concern right now is “frazil ice,” the slush building up beneath the ice jams.

MassDOT is scheduled to inspect the Exchange Street bridge Tuesday morning.

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