MOUNT DESERT — A 20-foot section of the Steamboat Wharf Road retaining wall in Seal Harbor that collapsed in July has been rebuilt, along with a portion of the road and pedestrian boardwalk it was holding up.
Since then, a smaller section of the stone retaining wall has failed, but it did not affect the road or boardwalk, according to public works director Tony Smith.
Mr. Smith said in a recent memo to town manager Durlin Lunt that he anticipates recommending that voters at the May 2013 town meeting be asked to authorize funding for “a structural review of the complete retaining wall/boardwalk assembly.”
A team of contractors headed by E.L. Shea Builders of Ellsworth and BCM Construction of Northeast Harbor rebuilt the collapsed section of the retaining wall, roadway and boardwalk. Mr. Smith told the selectmen at their Sept. 6 meeting that the contractors had done a great job.
“If the rest of the wall falls into the harbor, that one section will be there forever, I’m quite certain,” he said.
Mr. Smith did not solicit bids for the reconstruction project, citing town policy that allows officials to bypass the usual construction bid process when a situation poses a threat to public safety. Mr. Smith determined this was one of those situations.
Once the reconstruction job was finished, the bill came to $67,117. The selectmen authorized the payment from the public works road reserve account, leaving a balance of $24,824.
A section of Steamboat Wharf Road was closed to traffic for a couple of weeks while the retaining wall was being rebuilt. But Mr. Smith said in his memo to Mr. Lunt that he had not received a single complaint about the inconvenience.
“Instead, I accepted many ‘thank-you’s’ on behalf of the town for addressing the situation quickly and for providing as many people as possible with e-mail progress reports,” he said.