MOUNT DESERT — Shoring up the Steamboat Wharf Road retaining wall in Seal Harbor and repairing the pedestrian boardwalk atop the wall will cost up to $50,000 more than the $202,000 that voters approved at the May town meeting.
Public Works Director Tony Smith told the board of selectmen Monday night that Hedefine Engineering, which prepared the construction bid package, “missed some items” in its original estimate of $173,000 for construction.
The low bid, submitted by Bowman Contractors of Newport, was $222,500. Hedefine is charging $19,800 for construction administration and inspection services, bringing the total to $242,300. That is $40,300 more than the original estimate, and Smith recommended to the selectmen that an additional $9,700 be made available for contingencies.
He said that would be used “only if absolutely necessary, [for example] for unforeseen difficulties encountered once work begins.”
He asked the board to approve the use of up to $50,000 from the public works road reserve account to cover the difference between the amount that voters approved and the current projected cost.
Given the size of the disparity, Town Manager Durlin Lunt and Selectman Tom Richardson asked whether voters needed to be asked to approve the additional spending. Smith said he would ask the legal services department of the Maine Municipal Association (MMA) for an opinion.
The selectmen voted to award the construction contract to Bowman Contractors and to authorize the use of up to $50,000 in public work reserve funds on the condition that the MMA advises that a town meeting vote is not required.
Smith said the structural defects that the Steamboat Wharf Road project will address are “a failing stone wall in two places” and corrosion of the boardwalk’s steel supports.
“That boardwalk has been there over 30 years now, and to the best of my knowledge, this is the first major maintenance to be done to it,” Smith said.
He said that, unless another public vote is needed, the work could start in mid-September.