Weather puts crimp in rebuilding of Harpswell boat launch

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HARSPWELL — Weather delayed the start of reconstruction at the Mackerel Cove boat launch, which was slated to begin Nov. 26.

Deputy Town Administrator Terri Sawyer said the project could begin sometime this week, but the contractor, Ray Labbe &  Sons, has not set a specific date due to the uncertain weather conditions.

The project will take close to two weeks to complete, Sawyer said. It includes replacing the dilapidated, worn-down ramp with a new, concrete launch that will be close to 4 feet wider.

“The ramp is heavily used by commercial fishermen and recreational boaters, so we believe the project is important,” Sawyer said.

Part of Mackerel Cove’s popularity is not just its protected geography. It is one of the few boat launches in Harpswell that has parking.

“We really can’t give an estimate of how many people use the launch, but there are about 90 moorings in Mackerel Cove and four or five commercial ventures in the area, and a lot of those fishermen haul their boats out regularly for maintenance, etc,” Sawyer said.

Work on the launch can only be done at low tide and the current structure will not be accessible while the project is being worked on, she said.

The estimated cost of the project is $79,600, but that could change if any unforeseen problems occur.

“Hopefully there will be no issues causing the need for change orders,” Sawyer said.

In June, voters approved an additional $40,000 for the project after requirements from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection pushed the cost beyond the original $60,000 estimate. The ramp will now be replaced by two large concrete slabs, which are more expensive than the cost of pavement was going to be.

Mackerel Cove isn’t the only boat launch in town scheduled for upgrades.

Earlier this month, residents voted to approve an allocation of $25,000 for improvements to the Pott’s Point boat launch; an additional $25,000 was previously budgeted for the project. That $50,000 is to be matched by that state for a total of $100,000 funded through Small Harbor Improvement grants.

Concrete slabs will be used for the new Harpswell boat ramp at Mackerel Cove, which will be close to 4 feet wider than the old ramp.