FARMINGTON — Long-awaited construction to protect Whittier Road by stabilizing a riverbank next to the nearby Sandy River is set to start Monday.

The portion of Whittier Road along the unstable part of the slope will be closed starting Monday until the end of the month because of construction, according to Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis in a news release.

The bank has eroded to within 30 feet of the road, which is open to only one lane of traffic. 

Environmental consultant Rick Jones, who helped design the project, said previously said he expected construction to start no later than Sept. 1.

Davis was out of the office Monday afternoon and unavailable to answer questions about a new construction start date.

Work along the riverbank is allowed only between July 15 and Sept. 30, which is when the low water level allows construction to have a minimal effect on endangered Atlantic salmon, which use the river as spawning ground.

The town has been trying to stabilize the bank since August 2011, when a storm caused a 50-foot-wide, 300-foot-long chunk of earth to fall into the river.

The Public Works Department had placed wooden stakes at the base of the road in an effort to stabilize the bank temporarily until reconstruction, but the stakes washed away during high water and rain earlier this summer.

The stabilization project Sandy River, which will be carried out by local contractor E.L. Vining & Son, will use a mix of boulders and trees with the rootwads still intact as elements of an environmentally friendly structure.

Davis said previously that the project eventually will amass debris floating downstream and naturally add more material to the stabilized embankment.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]