GROTON –Two days of steady rain left some roads closed on Wednesday morning, and town officials weren’t making any flooding predictions prior to press time.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, Town Manager Mark Haddad said Hill Road was just recently closed and Broad Meadow Road had been closed for some time.
However, he said the flood waters were still rising and it was too soon to make predictions on whether major roads would be closed, like they were during the massive mid-March flood.
“I don’t know if we’re going to lose Route 225 or 119 in Pepperell this time,” he said. “It’s hard to tell at this point.
According to the National Weather Service, Groton was pelted with just under four inches of rain in the 24 hours after 6 p.m. on Monday.
Both the Squannacook and Nashua rivers flooded after the rainstorm, but the National Weather Service (NWS) had differing projections for when the two water bodies would crest. By its account, Squannacook crested at 7.5 feet in West Groton on Wednesday morning, just a half foot over the flood stage.
The closest measuring station for the Nashua River is in Pepperell, where the river was measured at 9.85 feet at the Main Street bridge on Wednesday morning. While that’s 1.85 feet above the “flood” threshold, it is significantly lower than the 11-foot mark that was predicted by the weather service, which projected the river cresting at 14.5 feet Wednesday night. By way of comparison, the Nashua crested at roughly 14 feet during the massive mid-March flood.
Pepperell Town Administrator John Moak and Emergency Management Coordinator George Ux, they both optimistic the Nashua appeared to be cresting, and that the Route 119 bridge would remain open.
However, Groton commuters were already coping with a detour on Route 119 near the town line with Littleton, which was caused by collapse of a culvert near Spectacle Pond.
The culvert failure disrupted drainage of the pond and caused “serious” flooding issues in the area, said a Monday morning release from the Littleton Water Department, which predicted the road could be closed for up to two weeks, while state highway crews make repairs.
Haddad said that incident had Route 119 closed in southern Groton since March 26, adding the town originally detoured traffic through Gilson Road, but is now rerouting traffic through Beaver Brook Road, because it’s better suited to handling heavy trucks.
Road closures aside, the heavy rain made driving conditions miserable on Tuesday afternoon, causing massive mud puddles and areas where water was flowing across roadways. It also sparked a widespread rumor that the Route 119 bridge over the Nashua River had collapsed, which in turn generated numerous phone questions for town officials in both Groton and Pepperell.
Though the exact source of that rumor was unknown on Tuesday, officials suspected the Internet, saying it traveled far, wide and fast.
“I’ve had three news stations call me about that,” said Pepperell Fire Chief Toby Tyler. “It’s bizarre.”