skip navigation
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: October 9, 2017
CONTACT: James Martin, (603) 271-3710

Suncook River Stabilization and Infrastructure Protection Project Underway in Epsom, NH

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) announced today that construction activities on the Suncook River stabilization and infrastructure protection project are underway in Epsom, NH. The project site is just east of the Epsom traffic circle on U.S. Route 4 and one of the work sites is visible from the U.S. Route 4 Bridge as you look south. This is a NHDES led project in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) with work being conducted by F.L. Merrill Construction Inc. out of Loudon, NH. All regulatory permits and land easements have been approved.

The Mother’s Day Flood of 2006 caused the Suncook River to create a new channel to the east of Bear Island between the Huckins Mill Dam and the U.S. Route 4 Bridge. The Suncook River is continuing to adjust to this shorter channel length by migrating across a sand dominated valley and down-cutting steadily. This ongoing process is visible just downstream of the U.S. Route 4 Bridge where the shortened length of the Suncook River now threatens the structural integrity of the bridge footings and has already damaged agricultural fields adjacent to the Suncook River. There are two, active construction sites on the Suncook River. The first is located immediately downstream of the U.S. Route 4 Bridge, and the second is just downstream of the confluence with the Little Suncook River. Heavy equipment will be accessing the project sites from U.S. Route 4 and Black Hall Road. No detours or significant delays in traffic patterns are expected as result of this project.

When asked about the designs required for this scope and scale of river project, Nick Nelson, Fluvial Geomorphologist and project manager for the project design firm Inter-Fluve, had this to say: “The primary goal for this project is reducing the likelihood of erosion impacts to critical bridge infrastructure. The preferred design alternatives of replacing the bridge or building valley-spanning nature-like grade controls to more appropriately account for future channel changes were not selected for costs reasons. The selected design alternative is a cost-effective combination of large rock, biodegradeable fabric and plantings to stabilize the channel bed and banks. The large volumes of rock are necessary because the channel banks are composed of sand and do not contain the geologic framework necessary to withstand the forces acting upon the channel bed and banks. The biodegradeable fabric and plantings will be installed on top of the rock to provide a more natural bank with vegetative stabilization and buffer.”
The majority of construction activities are expected to continue through the end of the year with seeding and planting to occur during the spring of 2018.

For more information on the Suncook River Stabilization and Infrastructure Protection Project, please contact Steve Landry, Supervisor, NHDES Watershed Assistance Section at (603) 271-2969.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire