Somes of the vertical piles on the town wharf in Bernard are deteriorating. Selectmen are set to decide next week on awarding a contract for major repairs. ISLANDER PHOTOS BY SARAH HINCKLEY

Wharf work to begin soon

TREMONT — Cracked beams, eroding piles and rickety stringers are all signs that the Bernard town wharf is in need of repair.

With the help of a Small Harbor Improvement Project (SHIP) grant from the Maine Department of Transportation, the town is planning repairs to the north side of the wharf. Repairs were done on the south side, to a larger portion of the wharf, in 2003. Another, smaller repair project was done in 2016.

Some of the cross beams and piles on the town wharf are showing cracks. ISLANDER PHOTOS BY SARAH HINCKLEY

Selectmen are scheduled to vote Dec. 2 on a recommendation from the Harbor Committee to award a contract to replace the 1,300 square-foot area of the wharf.

The work will include replacing much of the foundational structure of the wharf, such as new beams, cross braces, fender piles and pile caps. Some piles and beams will remain; those showing deterioration will be replaced.

Three companies bid on the project, according to Harbor Committee Member Art Paine. Even the lowest bid came in a bit over budget, he said, so the proposed contract includes a provision for “value engineering,” such as using less expensive materials where possible.

Earlier this year, town officials contemplated whether replacing the whole wharf would be more cost effective in the long run and opted to repair a portion of it at this time due to the price of a full repair.

Discussion on wharf repairs began as early as February when selectmen authorized Town Manager Chris Saunders to have Harbormaster Justin Seavey investigate what permitting would be needed for a granite wharf reconstruction. Selectmen also contemplated putting a concrete surface on the rebuilt wharf.

Neither option is what the town chose; instead it will be pressure treated wood, as is already the surface of the wharf.

“It will match what we’ve already done,” said Paine, who has served on the harbor committee for at least a decade.

During construction of the wharf, set to begin in the winter months, most of it is expected to be closed to (land) vehicles.

“That’s one of the advantages of doing it in the winter,” said Paine, “far less usage of the wharf.”

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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