MOUNT DESERT — If voters approve, the town will pay R.F. Jordan & Sons Construction of Ellsworth $383,920 to bring 28 crosswalks up to current safety and accessibility standards.
The Board of Selectmen voted Monday night to award the contract to Jordan contingent upon the May 7 town meeting vote. The construction schedule calls for work to begin this year on Sept. 3 and to be completed by Nov. 15.
After attending a Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) workshop on crosswalks two years ago, Mount Desert Public Works Director Tony Smith said, “We discovered that none of our crosswalks are in conformance with typical design or ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards.”
He said most of the deficiencies with the town’s 50 crosswalks had to do with location, sight distance, signage and handicap accessibility.
Following an evaluation of all of the sidewalks, Smith said it was determined that 17 of them would be addressed by the Main Street improvement project in Northeast Harbor or could be eliminated from upgrade consideration for other reasons.
Of the 33 remaining sidewalks, 10 were initially identified as high priorities for improvement. The project has since been expanded to include 28 crosswalks.
Smith said in a March 28 memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt that bid documents for the crosswalk project were sent to seven general contractors, but Jordan was the only one that submitted a bid. Jordan’s bid of nearly $384,000 was higher than Smith had anticipated.
“When I asked why … I was told that traffic control was very expensive and that it accounted for $75,000 to $100,000 of the total bid,” he said. “Fourteen of the 28 crosswalks are on state highways, meaning the MDOT’s strict traffic control requirements must be met. The 14 crosswalks on our local roads and streets will have adequate traffic control.”
Smith said that, unlike on state roads, “We will have the opportunity on the local roads for brief detours and for drivers to figure out alternative routes as opposed to driving through the construction.”
An article on the May 7 town meeting warrant asks voters if they want to authorize the town to issue bonds to pay for the crosswalks project.
Steamboat Wharf wall
The selectmen also voted Monday night to approve Smith’s recommendation to award K.J. Dugas Construction of Surry the contract to rebuild a section of the Steamboat Wharf Road retaining wall, provided voters at town meeting authorize funding for the project of $132,045.
The work would start Oct. 15 and be finished by Nov. 15.
“The October start date takes into account functions at and use of the adjacent Seal Harbor Yacht Club building and facilities,” Smith said in a March 28 memo to Lunt.
A 75-foot section of the stone wall that keeps Steamboat Wharf Road from falling onto the yacht club building is showing signs of failing.
“The granite blocks are showing evidence of movement, as have the roadway and small parking area along the side of the road at the top of the wall,” Smith said earlier this year. “Large cavities have developed behind the stones that will get bigger as the wall continues to fail.”
Voters at town meeting will be asked to authorize the town to draw funds from the capital gains reserve account to pay for the retaining wall project.