Needham, MA

Sudbury Aqueduct


Built in 1880, the aqueduct was a major pipeline for the City of Boston’s water distribution network until 1940, when the Hultman Aqueduct replaced it. Connecting reservoirs in Framingham with the City of Boston, the 17.4 mi. long aqueduct serves as an emergency backup line. When John Eliot Elementary School was considering construction of a new driveway over the Sudbury Aqueduct, they needed a condition assessment of the aqueduct and evaluation of potential safety risks involved with the project.

SGH inspected the interior and exterior of the 1,500 ft of the aqueduct, which is a gravity flow structure of brick and mortar placed in a concrete and stone cradle measuring 92 in. high and nine ft wide. We performed finite element analyses of the aqueduct based on inspection results and proposed maximum surface loads.

SGH concluded that, if cover height restrictions were adhered to, the moderate surface load created by the driveway could be safely supported. We further recommended reducing surcharge loads through the use of low-density geofoam fill.

Project Summary



Completion Date
Repair & Rehabilitation
Advanced Analysis
Infrastructure & Transportation
Dinisco Design Partnership, LTD.
Specialized Capabilities
Buried Infrastructure

Key team members

Mehdi Zarghamee
Mehdi Zarghamee
Senior Principal
Jesse Beaver
Jesse Beaver
Head of Engineering Mechanics and Infrastructure