Newport selectmen consider options for new Sebasticook Lake dam gate

Posted Nov. 02, 2011, at 10:15 p.m.

NEWPORT, Maine — Options and costs for the new dam gate on Sebasticook Lake were presented at the selectmen’s meeting on Wednesday evening.

Jonathan Edgerton from Wright-Pierce, a New England-based engineering firm with offices in Portland and Topsham, presented options for the new gate. Wright-Pierce previously was awarded the contract for the new gate.

The gate now in place has failed five times since 2007. Most recently, both chains broke in preparation for Tropical Storm Irene in August, forcing an early drawdown of the lake into the Sebasticook River.

The gate originally was installed in 1982 as a way to bring down the levels of phosphorus in the lake.

Edgerton presented three sluice gate size options to selectmen. On the table were a 10-by-10-foot gate, a 10-by-8-foot gate and a double 4-by-8-foot gate.

A sluice gate is a gate that is lifted straight up mechanically.

The current gate is 12 by 14 feet and lays down by chains.

Selectman Thomas Breitweg quickly shot down the double 4-by-8-foot gate and other selectmen agreed.

Edgerton proposed that a 10-by-10-foot gate ranged in price from $225,000 to $270,000 while the 10-by-8-foot gate would be $205,000 to $250,000. The double 4-by-8-foot gate would be $165,000 to $210,000.

The range in prices was attributed to the gate material. A cast-iron gate, which would be the most durable, also is the most expensive and likely would be the only option that could not be made locally. Stainless steel was the mid-tier option and steel was the lowest-end option.

Selectmen will vote on which gate to purchase at a later date.

Edgerton said the new gate could last 40 to 50 years and ideally would be in place in time for the drawdown next fall.

Also on the agenda:

• Knights Odds and Ends, owned by Daniel Knight and his fiancee, Penny Emerson, received unanimous approval to become the third licensed pawn broker in Newport, joining the Money Shop on Elm Street and Sebasticook New and Used on Moosehead Trail.

• The local VFW received unanimous approval to use a room at the community center recently vacated by the Maine Department of Transportation.

• Selectmen unanimously voted to shelve a bid for lighting the river walk in order to investigate the matter further and because they received just one bid for the project.

• Selectmen approved a $3,650 bid by Newport Fence to extend the town’s Little League outfield fence by 20 feet because the current configuration does not meet Little League standards.

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