April 06, 2020

Work on South Blue Hill wharf nearly complete

BLUE HILL – Work on the new town wharf in South Blue Hill should be completed in time for fishermen to use the facility to haul out their traps.

“It’s moving along,” Selectman Jim Schatz said Wednesday. “It looks like we’ll have the major part of the work done by the time they’re ready to haul out the major part of their traps.”

In the meantime, fishermen using the wharf have been working around the new construction at the site, he said.

Crews went back to work at the wharf last week in order to lower the height of the working surface at the facility. Workers already have removed the two top courses of concrete wharf wall segments that had been installed as part of the construction of the new dock, according to Schatz.

“The portions of the T-wall have been removed and they back-filled and they’re getting ready to put the concrete cap on,” he said.

Voters at a special town meeting in August decided to reduce the height of the dock rather than complete the project the way it had been designed. The new wharf, which replaces a 30-year-old wharf at the same site, was designed and built to state specifications, but until the project was almost completed last spring, no one realized that the deck was as much as 30 inches higher than the old wharf had been.

Fishermen complained that the extra height made it difficult, if not impossible to use, and discussion on how to resolve the problem continued into the summer, delaying completion of the project. In July, selectmen in a split vote decided to move ahead with the project and complete the wharf as designed and then make other improvements to make it more user-friendly.

That vote sparked a petition seeking the special town meeting.

The changes to the wharf have added $66,178 to the cost of the project, increasing the total price tag to $344,168. Although the state funded the original project, the town has had to pay for the additional costs to retrofit the wharf.

The 6-inch concrete cap, which will form the working surface of the wharf, was not included in the original design. Schatz said that was added when the decision was made to lower the height of the wharf.

“With the retrofit, the concrete cap was considered a better finish,” Schatz said. “And it will last longer.”

Once the cap is in place, crews will complete work on the new ramp and around the parking area.

Correction: This article ran on page B3 in the State edition.

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