Spirit of cooperation marks road, dam work in Ledyard

North Stonington First Selectman Nicholas Mullane, left, and Mashantucket Peqout Chairman Rodney Butler look over the edge of the new three-sided culvert with a natural bottom after the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday for the completion of Phase 1 of the Lantern Hill Project. In 2010, the Lantern Hill Road culvert in Ledyard was damaged due to flooding.
North Stonington First Selectman Nicholas Mullane, left, and Mashantucket Peqout Chairman Rodney Butler look over the edge of the new three-sided culvert with a natural bottom after the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday for the completion of Phase 1 of the Lantern Hill Project. In 2010, the Lantern Hill Road culvert in Ledyard was damaged due to flooding. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo

Ledyard - After a 2010 flood washed out the Lantern Hill Road culvert and over-topped the Silica Mine Dam, the Mashantucket Pequot Public Works Department came together with engineering firm Purcell Associates, Ledyard and North Stonington, and local Inland/Wetlands Commissions to permit a project that would meet floodway management requirements.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council members, Ledyard Mayor John Rodolico, North Stonington First Selectman Nicholas Mullane and others participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon celebrating the completion of the first phase of the Lantern Hill Project.

That first phase - raising the roadway over the brook by 4 feet - was completed about two weeks ago.

The second phase - installing a channel of box culverts to allow the release of more water from the dam during heavy rain - is expected to be completed in about a month. The total cost of the project is $1.4 million, funded through the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads grant. The project also required approval from the two towns affected, North Stonington and Ledyard.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler said that the project's completion was a sign of the times, and that 10 years ago, the surrounding towns and tribal members would have been "sitting across the table as adversaries" when approaching how to repair the damage.

Rodolico thanked members on the Tribal Council for their advocacy for the road repairs, saying the finished project is a benefit to everyone in the surrounding towns and to the area.

"I enjoyed coming up here and watching this happen," he said.

Mullane said it was because the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe took the lead on repairing the road and dam that the project was even finished in the first place. If it had been up to just his town, he said, with all of the other storm damage suffered back in March 2010, the project would not have even begun yet.

"This is a happy ending, there's no doubt about that," he said.

a.isaacs@theday.com

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