TREMONT — Shoring up the Bernard Town Wharf on a temporary basis while working on a permanent solution to increasing load limits was approved by selectmen Monday.
The concern is that load limits at the wharf are not sufficient to handle the weight of tractor trailer trucks used by wholesalers buying lobsters. Earlier this year, engineer Greg Johnston was hired to prepare a design for the temporary fix.
The estimated cost of a permanent repair is $250,000, Town Manager Dana Reed told the board. Johnston estimates repairing a section of the wharf to accommodate the 54,000 pound weight of each truck will cost $51,360.
In a letter to the town’s Harbor Committee regarding the engineering study, Johnston noted that vehicles using the area north of the repaired section be limited to pickup trucks and other light vehicles.
Selectman Kevin Buck questioned whether the trucks needed to be on the wharf.
“It seems to me one solution would be for the trucks not to go out there,” he said.
Reed and others pointed out that would require loading crates of lobsters into a small truck on the wharf and driving less than 100 yards to transfer them to the larger truck. That would be labor-intensive and time-consuming, they said.
Harbor Committee member Mel Atherton urged selectmen to go ahead with the work.
“You have to do something,” he said. “It’s pretty shaky out there.”
In a related matter, Harbormaster Justin Seavey said the town has been approved for a Shore and Harbor Grant to cover 75 percent of the $8,900 engineering cost.