Fence Along Charles River Prevents Pedestrian Traffic During Sewer Extension

Pedestrians wishing to stroll along the north bank of the Charles River near Harvard this summer will find themselves fenced out because of the construction of a relief sewer extension in that area.

The eight-foot high chain-link fence extends from Plympton St. as far down as Peabody Park, to the north-west of Anderson Bridge, and will remain standing on that location until early fall when the construction will be moved farther north.

John F. Snedeker, head of the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), said last week that the relief sewer extension will enable the Charles River to resume some of its original stature as a protective natural resource and also provide for additional recreational use.

"This is another step in our program to insure the continued improvement of water quality," Snedeker said.

Snedeker could not be reached for comment yesterday.


An Unaesthetic Barrier?

Student reaction to the fence was mixed. Jonathan D. Keeley '78, who runs by the river, said yesterday that he thought the fence was "aesthetically displeasing, but that the end product of a cleaner river was worth the short sacrifice."

Carl A. Esterhay '78 said the fence was a barrier that would inhibit jogging along the river, but that the reasons for it were obvious.

The extension will occur in three phases, the first of which will include ground excavation, the laying of pipes and resodding in the area between Plympton St. and Peabody Park, Francis Bergen, chief MDC engineer on the project, said yesterday.

Completion of this part of the project will take place at the end of the summer, Bergen said, until which time sunbathers and pedestrians will be excluded from the area.

Bergen said the second phase, stretching from the end of Peabody Park to the vicinity of Sparks St., required special planning and consideration because of the presence of valuable sycamore trees that are rooted along the Charles River bank.

Safety of Trees

David Kearney, another MDC engineer, said yesterday that the relief sewer project was "tied up for three years" because of concern expressed by the Cambridge Conservation Commission (CCC) over the safety of the trees.

Nancy Bellow, executive secretary of the CCC, said yesterday that because of the Wetlands Protection Act any project undertaken within 100 feet of the Charles River falls under the legal juridisdiction of her agency.

"We feel that those trees are an unusual resource, but that the sewer is also needed," Bellow said.

Bellow said that the MDC and the CCC hired experts to determine how to prevent any damage to the trees. She added that the studies resulted in 32 "very strict specifications" which guarantee that the trees will not be injured.

Bergen said that in the third phase the construction will leave the river bank, proceeding instead under Memorial Drive and then down Mount Auburn St. to Lowell St.