SOUTHWEST HARBOR—When the state paved Route 102 at the beginning of this summer season, the crew skipped over a portion of Main Street that will be done when a new sidewalk in the area is constructed.
“What year is that?” asked Selectman George Jellison Jr. at the July 28 Board of Selectmen meeting.
Residents of Southwest Harbor have been waiting since 2017, when then town manager Don Lagrange announced the town had been awarded nearly $500,000 in grant funds from MDOT for upgrades to a 1,500-foot section of sidewalk on Main Street.
“We’re waiting on the state at this point, right?” board Chairman Kristin Hutchins asked Town Manager Justin VanDongen.
“For the right-of-way work,” VanDongen responded. “We can’t bid the project out until the state gives us the go ahead with the right-of-way work that they require when you’re using federal funds.”
Permission to build in the right of way on several properties along that stretch of road is needed in order to proceed with the project, which includes a 5-foot-wide sidewalk and a 5-foot-wide shoulder on the west side of the street.
“They do not appear to have a sense of urgency around this right-of-way work,” Hutchins said.
Construction is slated to go from Apple Lane to Village at Ocean’s End and include two more feet of drainage between the sidewalk and abutting properties.
“I will say it’s tedious,” said VanDongen about securing the right-of-way parcels. “It is difficult for each one of the pieces that they have to take and coming to an agreement with the owners for each of those pieces.
“It’s not the easiest work, especially when a lot of the houses along there are seasonal as well,” he added. “I wouldn’t say they’re dragging their feet. We haven’t seen any slowdowns from COVID from them. They still say they’re on track to bid it in November.”
While the road is torn up for the project, the Water and Sewer District is planning to work on the water and sewer infrastructure in that area as well.
“Spring of 2021, I would expect it to start,” said VanDongen, if the bidding does go out this November. “I would expect it to finish in the spring of 2022.”