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Fishway to close for improvements

Date: 2/20/2015

HOLYOKE  – The Holyoke Fishway will be closed to the public this year as the Holyoke Gas and Electric Department (HG&E) makes improvements on the downstream fish passage. 

James Lavelle, director of the HG&E, explained to Reminder Publications, it is requirement of the license for the hydroelectric facility to make improvements to the safety of the fish passage and the project comes after several years of consultation.

The $12 million project will include the installation of a rack upstream that will prevent fish from entering the turbines accidentally. Lavelle said the short nosed sturgeon is of particular concern.

Lavelle said HG&E is currently awaiting approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and said the utility has undergone an “extremely vigorous permitting process” for the improvements. He expects to receive the final approvals by March 23.

The bid for the project has already been arrived and Lavelle said the lowest possible interest rate has been secured for the project. 

He anticipates the improvements will be made by the end of the year.