The 100-year-old breakwater between Bald Porcupine Island and Bar Harbor will receive needed repairs paid for with money from the recently passed federal infrastructure bill. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Feds to pay for breakwater work

BAR HARBOR — The federal government is picking up the tab for $6,325,000 to repair and survey the town’s 100-year-old breakwater that protects the docks and anchorages of Bar Harbor. 

The breakwater was constructed between 1888 and 1917 to protect the harbor, according to Army Corps of Engineers documents.  

Construction was halted in 1917 and never finished. The documents do not say why the project was left incomplete, but 1917 was the beginning of U.S. involvement in World War I, a time when many civilian-focused resources were allocated elsewhere. 

The 2,510-foot-long structure, extending off the southwestern shore of Bald Porcupine Island toward the Bar Harbor coastline, includes 382,000 tons of stone. The breakwater provides protection from southerly swells to Bar Harbor and the vessels that anchor in the ‘A’ Anchorage. 

At an estimated 88 percent complete when the project was abandoned, the stone structure stretches the full length that had been planned but is not a uniform height all the way across. When repaired, it will maintain its current configuration but will be adjusted for expected sea rise.  

The money, which is part of the recently passed federal infrastructure bill, will cover the repair, necessary survey, development of plans and specifications for the solicitation, as well as environmental compliance efforts and coordination.  

The next step, according to the Corps, is to undertake a survey to determine how the project will proceed.   

Faith DeAmbrose

Faith DeAmbrose

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander

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