Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

TIGHE & BOND RECEIVES AWARD FOR ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) presented Tighe & Bond and the Dalton Fire District (District) with an award for the $5.2 million design and reconstruction of Windsor Reservoir Dam in Dalton, Massachusetts.  Presentation of the 2011 Engineering Excellence Award took place at the ACEC/MA’s annual awards banquet on March 23 at the Boston Marriott Cambridge in Kendall Square. 

The reconstruction of this high profile dam, which was completed in spring of last year, signified the largest dam repair in the Commonwealth at the time.  The dam impounds the 62-acre Windsor Reservoir, which serves as the District’s only backup supply for drinking water.  Due to the dam size and its close proximity to numerous homes, businesses and infrastructure, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) classifies it a high hazard dam.  

Over time and with torrential rains, the dam’s spillway began to show signs of deterioration and needed repair. Tighe & Bond conducted dam inspections, provided evaluation reports, made recommendations and initiated dam reconstruction.  From an engineering perspective, this project represented a very carefully orchestrated approach to the complicated task of reconstructing a very large, high hazard dam that was in critical need of replacement.  Reconstruction of the dam during winter months and the dam’s remote location exacerbated the project’s complexity.   

As part of this project, Tighe & Bond also engineered and oversaw the removal of a nonfunctional dam along May Brook, located within the Windsor Reservoir watershed.  This activity was undertaken to provide mitigation for unavoidable impacts associated with the Windsor Dam reconstruction.  The project was closely coordinated with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Department of Environmental Protection, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Due to its remote location, small equipment (less than 60-inch width) was used to remove sediment trapped behind the dam and complete the dam demolition.  Removal of the dam has resulted in the restoration of fish passage to approximately one mile of a designated Cold Water Fishery, and has been applauded by regulators. 

The successful outcome of this project resulted in improved public safety and restoration of a standby water supply for the District, as well as the restoration of May Brook’s natural environments. 

James O. Driscoll, who is Chairman of the Board of Water Commissioners for the Dalton Fire District, comments, “Since the Windsor Reservoir is critical to our community’s backup water supply, and the safety of the Windsor Reservoir Dam is equally important, the skill of Tighe & Bond’s dam reconstruction team was extremely important to us.  This project is a great example of how an engineering firm can bring together a collaborative team to accomplish a difficult task – such as major reconstruction of a dam spillway during winter months – in an outstanding manner.”

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