Harpswell cuts $125K from cost of Mitchell Field pier demolition

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HARPSWELL — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a change in the Mitchell Field demolition project that reduces the $3.2 million contract by $125,000.

The board voted at a special meeting Monday, Dec. 18, where Barney Baker of Baker Design Consultants explained the revision.

Demolition began Dec. 7 with a ceremonial “pierbreaking,” following several years of discussion about what to do with the deteriorating pier. 

Baker said Reed & Reed, the Woolwich-based contractor in charge of the pier demolition, is asking the town to pay for its rock weighing and removal services in a lump sum, instead of by section of rock removed from the site.

The original contract stated the contractor would be paid for each ton of material removed from the demolition site and brought to shore, and again for separating the rock into different sizes and other classifications.

To adhere to the terms of the original contract, Reed & Reed would have to weigh the debris after it was extracted from the demolition site and brought onshore daily, using a special scale at Mitchell Field. 

The scale costs $65,000 to purchase and install, and another $60,000 of town funds would be necessary to cover labor and operational costs of using the scale every day.

Baker said without the scale, Reed & Reed can determine the weight of any material removed by measuring its volume, and can use the same method to ensure enough material from the pier is saved for future use by the town.

Aside from the payment method going to lump sum, doing away with a scale during operations will likely change little else about the project. Baker said Ray Labbe, who is in charge of the site work, reassured him that the material would still be cleaned and separated to the same standard it would have been otherwise.

“He made me feel at ease that the same quality control is going to be there, it’s just the method of payment is going to be simplified,” Baker said.

The change order also states Reed & Reed will remove the aluminum light posts now bolted to the pier and store them in a building at Mitchell Field, and move a mooring ashore before demolition, both at no cost to the town.

Baker said Reed & Reed has already started to move “towards construction,” and was expected to begin erosion control and building a work-zone fence this week.

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or eclemente@theforecaster.net. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente

Harpswell Selectman David Chipman takes a whack at the Mitchell Field pier during a “pierbreaking” event Dec. 7.

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