WILTON – As if day after day of heavy rain wasn’t enough for the Highway Department to worry about, an army of industrious rodents managed to temporarily shut down the Munson Road.
Beavers were able to block a culvert which, along with the rain, created a potentially destructive situation Wednesday. The highway crew was forced to close part of the road, and dig spillway trenches after they were unsuccessful in unblocking the animal’s dam. That part of the Munson Road, to the east of Routes 2 & 4, remains closed today.
“They’re smarter than we are,” Town Manager Peter Nielsen said, “and they’re dedicated to building in that area.”
The problem became apparent after someone noticed that the water level on the side of the road was level with the pavement. Nielsen and others feared that the blocked culvert and heavy rain could lead to a complete washout. Crews broke the pavement apart to cut a pair of channels, which safely contained the water and mitigated the problem. Nielsen estimated Munson Road lost perhaps a truck-load of gravel. The Highway Department was busy today, repairing the damage and unblocking the culvert. The damaged area will likely not be repaved in the short term, as weather forcasts are predicting several more days of rainy weather.
Nielsen said he believed the road would reopen shortly, and that “the problem is under control.”
Beavers are not a new problem for Wilton’s roads, Nielsen said. The troublesome rodents are well known for erecting wood and mud dams to create small lakes.
“It seems like the beavers are doing really well here,” Nielsen said. “This is not the first time we’ve had trouble with them.”
There are several options to control the animals. One of the simplest involves sinking pipes through the dam itself, allowing water to pass through. This lets people and beavers coexist somewhat, but there have been reports of beavers eventually plugging the pipes with mud and debris. Other options include fencing placed away from the culvert, and allowing the beavers to build their dam against the fence. Trapping is another option.
In the short term however, Nielsen said he would be happy to just see the rain stop.