SORRENTO — Last week, the town of Sorrento constructed a new public pier, replacing the old pier into Frenchman Bay from Ocean Avenue.
The decision to construct a new pier was voted on at the annual Town Meeting last year, and the pier itself was installed last week. This was a long time coming as the old pier that had been in use was beyond repair and in need of replacement.
“The old pier was nearing its life expectancy and the fasteners were starting to rot away, so replacement was better than repair,” said Sorrento Select Board member Jon Mickel.
The new pier cost the town $81,660 to construct, which is slightly more than was originally anticipated and approved for the project last year. Originally projected to cost $68,400, the approved amount was adjusted to accommodate the actual cost given the necessity of the pier.
The pier was funded with tax dollars and will serve those who use the waters of Frenchman Bay both recreationally and commercially for years to come.
There are 100 moorings of the dock, according to Sorrento Town Clerk and Harbor Secretary Kathi Moore. “About 10 commercial boats, the rest are all personal.”
With so many boats in the harbor, a pier to access offshore moorings is an essential fixture of the town’s waterfront.
The public pier provides harbor access to residents of the town, as well as non-residents, for recreational use and commercial access for those who make a living on the water.
The new pier is made of aluminum, and was designed, constructed and installed by Custom Float Services of South Portland. It features a raised walkway with stairs to a floating dinghy dock. The new pier took some planning by the town and was designed with the future of Sorrento’s harbor access in mind.
The new pier has been raised 15 inches above the height of the previous one in order to accommodate rising sea levels in the future. In fact, the height of the old pier above the water gave the Sorrento Select Board an indicator of how much the water had risen already so officials could plan ahead.
“Selectmen decided based on the history of the rise of sea level,” said Mickel. “The old pier was very close to a wash in storms.”
This new pier will be raised high enough to be safely above the current waterline, and to stay above it even if water levels in the harbor rise a few inches several years down the road.
“It doesn’t expand the access but ensures the same access will be available for years to come,” said Mickel.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of moorings off the new pier. There are 100.