The City of Quincy, Massachusetts’ project to relocate a portion of a century-old granite channel used for stormwater conveyance received a Bronze Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA).
The channel had been built to redirect a portion of Town Brook through downtown Quincy in the early 1900s. The stream originates from freshwater wetlands in the Blue Hills Reservation, flowing almost four miles through urban areas to the Atlantic Ocean just south of Boston Harbor. It also serves as downtown Quincy’s primary stormwater drainage system.
Previous work had rerouted a portion of the brook from its original path but left the infrastructure in place to act as conveyance for stormwater. This improved water quality somewhat, but the old drainage system now made it near impossible to develop underutilized land in Quincy’s downtown. To address this, Quincy opted to direct a portion of its $1 billion Downtown Revitalization Project funding to reroute the century-old granite Town Brook to improve stormwater management, address the water quality, and free up 14 acres of land for public and private redevelopment.
The Town Brook relocation unlocks the potential redevelopment of 14 acres of underutilized land in downtown Quincy. It includes new green infrastructure that improves water quality and helps restore spawning habitat for native fish species. To accomplish it, Quincy established a unique public-private partnership that allowed significant infrastructure upgrades to be completed by a private developer. The city’s program manager, Woodard & Curran, then collaborated closely with the developer to design and construct the infrastructure on the same site as the construction of a 150+ unit apartment building. Ultimately, the project advances Quincy’s ambitious downtown revitalization efforts and economic development program.