A boat rounds the end of the Bar Harbor breakwater last week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is going forward with preliminary work to repair the 100-plus-year old structure. ISLANDER PHOTO BY ETHAN GENTER

Breakwater repairs moving forward

BAR HARBOR—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is going forward with an environmental review and planning on maintenance work for the more than 100-year-old breakwater that protects docks and anchorages in Bar Harbor.

The Corps informed town officials in March that, after an underwater survey of the 2,500-long stone breakwater, the agency deemed the needed repairs “maintenance,” Cruise Committee Chairman Eben Salvatore told the Town Council last week.

That determination could keep the project moving.

The survey looked at the 382,000-ton breakwater’s foundation and footings to determine if it needed maintenance or improvement work. The former would largely come at the cost of the federal government while the latter would have fallen to the town.

The council was happily surprised at the news.

“I don’t think that any of us actually expected that the Army Corps was going to come back and say to us that this was maintenance,” said Town Council member Matthew Hochman.

The construction of the breakwater was authorized in 1888, but funding was sporadic, and it was deemed completed in 1917, before it was fully built out.

Spanning to the southwest off Bald Porcupine Island, it was built to its complete length, but never built to a uniform height all the way across.

A corps spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment last week and Salvatore told the council that it wasn’t clear what the timeline on the environmental work would be.

“Not sure when, but it’s moving forward,” he said.

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.

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