Duck Harbor Updates

Background on Duck Harbor:

  • Recurring road flooding, caused by the Duck Harbor overwash, has caused the access roads to Bound Brook Island to be closed for several days each month following high tides. The DPW is managing an expedited project to raise one low-lying road to provide complete access to the island regardless of the tides.  

Duck Harbor Update 05/17/2024

Good afternoon, 

As promised, we have secured the necessary local and state permitting to allow us to commence construction on Monday May 20, 2024.  That portion of Bound Brook Island road will be closed for the week, but access will still be afforded from the South.  I prepared two maps (attached) that provide information on the traffic flow during construction, as well as post construction when there are flooding events.  

We are only working on a portion of BBI road to allow emergency access during flooding events, so there's still an opportunity for localized flooding to occur in other areas including but not limited to:  at the crossing of the Herring River, at Paradise Hollow and at the low lying areas south of Coles Neck Road.  You will also see the recommended route to the Transfer Station during flooding events.  

Please review the attached maps.  We will also put them on the Town website. 


Duck Harbor Update 05/11/2024

  • We have completed our review of the engineering design plans and have provided comments to the engineer.  We received those comments back yesterday and are working towards final draft plans and specifications for roadway materials.   
  • In the meantime, we have been contemplating our next steps with bidding, etc.  I'm very concerned with the bidding timeline, choosing a contractor, notice of award, contract execution, commencement of construction and then construction completion could very well go past the 4th of July.  
  • On a more positive note and although not definitive yet, we (the DPW) are most likely going to avoid that process and do the work ourselves.  It is going to be a stretch for our department, but we have thoroughly and thoughtfully vetted this out and are confident we can get this work done "in house" faster and cheaper than bidding it out.   
  • There are a number of things we need to work through prior to giving the green light on this approach, but just know that we are thinking outside the box and want to implement a solution fast.  My goal is to break ground the week of May 20th as long as everything aligns next week internally and through permitting.  But please know that's still tentative.  I anticipate to have a more definitive update next Friday the 17th for your planning purposes. 
  • Stay tuned and enjoy the weekend!  

Duck Harbor Update 5/3/2024

  • Late yesterday afternoon I received a draft engineering plan set and draft specifications for the project.  We will expedite our internal review of the documents and turn around any comments to the engineer quickly.  From there, the engineer will finalize the plans for bidding hopefully next week.  
  • Once I have a better understanding on when this will be solicited, I'll be able to fine tune predicted schedules for the work.  
  • Unfortunately, we are coming into some higher tides starting today that will last until approximately next weekend (13th-14th).  Please plan accordingly and be advised that there's a high likelihood of flooding.  Take care and as always let me know if you have any questions, or if an emergency please call the Wellfleet Police Department and/or Fire Department.   

Duck Harbor Update 4/26/2024

Below please see progress made on the engineering plans this week:

  • Design work began on Monday 4/22. 
  • Advancement of draft drawings and specifications. 
  • Checking on side slopes to keep within existing 40’ ROW.
  • Revising draft LLR specs as the starting point and modifying for this project.

I anticipate receiving a full set of draft design plans and specifications by the end of next week.  Conditions today are free and clear of flooding so I would predict this condition to be consistent through the weekend (don't hold me to that haha).  Next higher tide cycles being around Friday May 3rd.  


  • We received the proposal from WSP, the design engineer for the Low Lying Roads phase of the project, and and is currently under expedited review.  
  • Tides above 10' will be subsiding around 4/13/24 hopefully leading to less flooding until the next cycle in early May.  I've attached a copy of tide charts extending out to September with highlights showing problematic tidal conditions that could result in flooding.  This is all subject to wind direction, storm conditions, etc.  But we are acquiring data and monitoring the conditions each day. There have been questions whether we predict the tides to lessen in the summer months, and based on the tide charts I don't believe there will be any relief.  
  • We have received calls that water levels have increased dramatically all the way to Black Pond Road (east of Rt 6) far upstream on the Herring River.  Just to emphasize the extent of this problem.   


  • Over the past several weeks, we have held numerous meetings to discuss and weigh options on how to remedy this public safety situation with the Herring River Technical Team (including representatives from the Cape Cod National Seashore), and members of the Town of Wellfleet's Emergency Management Team (EMT) that includes Police, Fire and Town Administration.   Also provided several updates to the Select Board and have been in contact with the Cape Cod Times and Provincetown Independent. 
  • We have decided to move forward with plans on an interim fix to raise portions of Town owned parcels (Bound Brook Island road) to allow access during flooding events.  More details to come, but the intent is to follow the existing design of the Herring River Low Lying Roads phase of the project to the maximum extent possible - but knowing that we can't implement the full project elements at this time as there are details still being worked out (this overwash event was not anticipated and the goal to solicit the full scope was projected for late 2024 or early 2025).  At this time, we are hoping to raise the roads enough to take the curse off the flooding to buy time until the full project implementation. I'd like to stress that this overwash event is unrelated to the project, but obviously ties into our overall plans. 
  • On Tuesday, the project team held a meeting with WSP, the design engineer for the Low Lying Roads phase of the project, and am awaiting their proposal to assist with the interim design and bidding for this project.   
  • Conducted meetings with regulatory permitting agencies to inform them what we are experiencing (Local conservation, DEP and Army Corps) 
  • Spring tides above 10' will be back this weekend from 4/5/24 until 4/13/24 which could result in further flooding so please plan accordingly. 

Please know that we are working in earnest to move this along and understand that these projects take time to implement.  Our overall goal is to have a solution implemented ASAP with a target before the summer, but realize many elements (funding) need to align for this to happen so we will try our very best to expedite the process.  If you have any questions please feel to reach out - I am adding this to my calendar as a weekly Friday update so you all stay informed with the latest information. Take care