Hadley asks state to probe shopping cart structure along bank of Connecticut River

Shopping carts line a section of the Connecticut River bank in Hadley on the afternoon of May 21.

Shopping carts line a section of the Connecticut River bank in Hadley on the afternoon of May 21. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Shopping carts line a section of the Connecticut River bank behind a Honey Pot Road home in Hadley on Tuesday afternoon. The town’s conservation agent has asked the state to determine the legality of the structure.

Shopping carts line a section of the Connecticut River bank behind a Honey Pot Road home in Hadley on Tuesday afternoon. The town’s conservation agent has asked the state to determine the legality of the structure. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Shopping carts line a section of the Connecticut River bank behind a Honey Pot Road home in Hadley on May 28. The structure mimics so-called gabion baskets used by public works crews to stabilize slopes.

Shopping carts line a section of the Connecticut River bank behind a Honey Pot Road home in Hadley on May 28. The structure mimics so-called gabion baskets used by public works crews to stabilize slopes. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Shopping carts line a section of the Connecticut River bank behind a Honey Pot Road home in Hadley on Tuesday afternoon. The town’s conservation agent has asked the state to determine the legality of the structure. 

Shopping carts line a section of the Connecticut River bank behind a Honey Pot Road home in Hadley on Tuesday afternoon. The town’s conservation agent has asked the state to determine the legality of the structure.  STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 06-06-2024 7:24 PM

HADLEY — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the legality of a makeshift riverbank and retaining wall using dozens of carefully arranged shopping carts alongside the Connecticut River behind a home on Honey Pot Road.

Visible from the river, as well as the Coolidge Bridge, the Norwottuck Rail Trail crossing and public areas on the Northampton side, the shopping carts appear to have been exposed after dirt that filled and covered them was washed away. A short time later, the carts were refilled with dirt.

There is uncertainty about the legality of the makeshift gabion baskets, the steel wire mesh containers that public works crews fill with stones and use to stabilize roadside slopes and embankments, but the matter was referred to the Conservation Commission.

Kayla Loubriel, the town’s conservation agent, then sent the information to the state DEP. She said the state is investigating.

The Conservation Commission chair, Gary Pelissier, said Wednesday that the board was notified about the carts and confirmed that information regarding it was sent to the state. It was never an item on the commission’s agenda, he said.

The DEP did not provide further details.

“MassDEP cannot comment on any issues that may be investigatory or enforcement sensitive,” Sean Gonsalves, acting deputy regional director for the Bureau of Administrative Services, for the MassDEP’s western regional office in Springfield, wrote in an email.

Concern about use of the riverfront in Hadley has been growing in recent years, with the Conservation Commission getting involved in the issuing of permits for campers that are parked along the river during the summer.The use of shopping carts as gabion baskets is featured in a how-to video on YouTube.

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