Town wants to fit seawall replacement project in between summer and Christmas tourist rushes

Jennifer Bryant | York County Coast Star
Jennifer Bryant | York County Coast Star
The seawall along Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport is scheduled to be replaced this fall.
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“Ocean Avenue is a very busy place and we don’t want to be doing construction there during your tourist time, so we have a very limited amount of time when we can do construction,” the project manager said.
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KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — The replacement of the Ocean Avenue seawall will be going out to bid next week, with the anticipated three month project to take place this fall.

Director of Public Works Mike Claus said the seawall, which is located between the Nonantum Resort and Chick’s Creek, was built in the 1930s or 1940s and is in need of replacement.

Voters last June approved bonding $1 million for the replacement. Claus said repairing would have been more costly than rebuilding.

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Megan McDevitt, project manager for Woodard & Curran, the engineering firm working on the project, said the current seawall is constructed of concrete and steel rails. It will be replaced with a precast modular block system, she said, which allows for faster construction as the blocks are pre-made and constructed “almost like a Lego system” on site.

“Ocean Avenue is a very busy place and we don’t want to be doing construction there during your tourist time, so we have a very limited amount of time when we can do construction,” she said. “We’re looking to use a product that allows us to get in and out of there as soon as possible.”

It will also allow for the seawall to be expanded in the future, if for instance, there is a desire to raise it due to sea level rise, she said.

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“It provides some functionality and can be retrofitted to increase in height,” she said.

The project will be put out to bid next week and bids will be open for three weeks, McDevitt said, to be returned Feb. 7. The Board of Selectmen will meet Feb. 14 and McDevitt said they expect to present a bid recommendation to the board during that meeting.

Construction would begin after Labor Day and is expected to last three months, finishing around Nov. 29, before Kennebunkport’s Annual Christmas Prelude, which will start Dec. 5. There will be one-way traffic, she said, with continuous pedestrian access through the duration of the project.

As part of the project the existing sidewalk will be excavated and rebuilt with a new curb and new pavement.

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Town Manager Laurie Smith said the months of September, October, and November are busy months for the town, particularly with passenger rail buses, and the project will mean limited traffic flow.

In other business, Jim Stockman, president of the Kennebunkport Emergency Medical Services board, presented information to selectmen on a new subscription service the organization will be introducing. The non-profit ambulance service is in its 40th year, he said.

“One of the issues that we have currently is how to get money and to continue to fund our service,” Stockman said.

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Residents will be able to apply for the subscription service, there will be varying rates available, with the service to be provided from January through December of each calendar year. The out of pocket expense of the ambulance service would be waived for a resident who has signed up for the subscription service, Stockman said.

“The reason for the service is because we wanted to offer something to the people of Kennebunkport that would help them save money,” he said. “So a person who needs the ambulance doesn’t have to worry about that additional cost, which is the last thing that you’re thinking about if you need an ambulance.”

Stockman said residents will be receiving letters with more information on the service this month.



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