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Article Published March 6, 2018
Saybrook Town Dock Fix Plan Funded
Becky Coffey, Senior Staff Writer

Projects to replace two aging town docks won support from the boards of Selectmen and Finance (BOS and BOF) last month. A Harbor Management Commission (HMC) plan to demolish and replace the Ferry Road dock is slated for this spring, if bids are favorable, and the Sheffield Street dock work either late in the spring or in the fall.

Funds to complete the projects are already set aside in an off-budget account where HMC deposits mooring fees and similar revenue. The account’s reserves are then tapped to pay for needed dock and harbor maintenance work. As of Feb. 5, this HMC account had a balance of $466,000, according to HMC Chairman Robert Murphy.

HMC’s capital spending plan, approved by the BOS and BOF, would allocate $167,750 for dock work in the 2018-’19 budget year and $256,300 for work next year. Targeted for attention are the Ferry Road town dock, a dock used by commercial fishermen, and the town dock at the end of Sheffield Street used for public access to North Cove moorings and to the cove itself.

In the current fiscal year (2017-’18), HMC has allocated $25,000 for design, permitting, and engineering work needed to prepare for the dock fixes. Town contractor Docko is working with HMC this month to refine dock project design details and finalize construction drawings.

The Ferry Road dock, the only town dock serving commercial fishermen, has been in place for more than 60 years and is showing its age. HMC plans are to release the plans and specifications for the Ferry Road dock project to potential bidders within the week.

At the Ferry Road town dock, the scope is to demolish the main foot dock, which extends about 100 feet from the shore into the river, and the “T” dock section across its end. As work begins, the existing vertical piles will be removed and replaced. Next, the main dock section—now supported with the new piles—would be replaced. The existing “T” dock at the end of the main dock, once removed, will not be rebuilt. Existing floating dock sections would be temporarily disconnected during the work and reconnected once the dock replacement is done.

“Hopefully, we’ll do [the Ferry Road dock] this spring season, but we don’t know how much of a response we will get from bidders, given the ice issues on the river this spring. If we can’t do it this spring, we’ll do it in the fall,” said Murphy.

He said that many docks and piers along the river had ice damage this winter when Connecticut River sections froze. Murphy is concerned that this may mean a bigger demand for dock repair contractors and services this spring than is usual.

The Sheffield Street dock rebuild design drawings and specifications should be done sometime this month. Currently, there is a bulkhead, a floating dinghy dock and a fixed service dock. The dock project would raise the grad at the bulkhead, demolish the fixed service dock, and put in all new floating docks.

Open Moorings—Sign Up Now

With the North Cove dredging project nearly done, the HMCn wants boaters to know there has never been a better time to apply for a North Cove mooring. Last season, HMC had 100 moorings. This season, now that the harbor waters have been returned to design depth, more moorings can be added. This season, there will be 150 North Cove moorings available—for the first time in a long time, there is not a waiting list.

Applications for a North Cove mooring can be downloaded from the HMC’s page of the town website www.oldsaybrookct.org or they can be obtained from the First Selectman’s Office at Town Hall.