MOUNT DESERT — A 75-foot section of the stone wall that keeps Steamboat Wharf Road from falling onto the Sear Harbor Yacht Club building is showing signs of failing, according to Public Works Director Tony Smith.
The board of selectmen Monday night authorized using $9,800 from a reserve account to pay Hedefine Engineering & Design of Ellsworth to evaluate the condition of the wall and make recommendations for its reconstruction.
“We have been keeping an eye on the wall over the last few years,” Smith said in a memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt.
“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. Large cavities have developed behind the stones that will get bigger as the wall continues to fail.”
If that section of the wall isn’t rebuilt, Smith said, “The cavities will get larger, allowing more roadbed materials to settle into them, eventually causing sinkholes in the road and a major failure of the wall and road.”
However, he told the selectmen, “It won’t have a catastrophic failure like [when] a roof collapses with snow on it, but we might as well do it and be done with it.”
The wall not only supports Steamboat Wharf Road, but also the stairway down to the path leading to the yacht club building.
Over the past eight years, two different sections of the retaining wall were repaired after they were found to be collapsing or in danger of failing.