SCARBOROUGH – A barge and heavy equipment will soon be at Pine Point as work begins on a long-awaited pier project.

The new pier is expected to make work easier for both commercial fishermen and recreational users.

The current pier, just 6 feet wide, cannot handle vehicular traffic. That means fishermen must wait for low tide to load or unload gear between their trucks and their boats, or haul their equipment down the length of the dock.

Dennis and Gary Violette, brothers who are third-generation lobstermen, will be glad to end their days of ferrying bait out to the boat on a skiff and dragging dozens of traps down the dock.

“I’m not going to miss it at all,” Dennis Violette said. “It will be nice. It will be nice to finally be out of the dark ages.”

The new pier will be 15 feet wide and extend 220 feet to a 72-foot T. It will be large enough to let trucks reach the boats, and will have two jib cranes, water and power — features that aren’t on the current pier. Seven floats will be relocated.

The work is expected to begin next week.

The cost of the new pier will be about $800,000. The town set aside $400,000 several years ago and got grants of $252,500 from Land for Maine’s Future and about $150,000 from the Maine Department of Transportation’s Small Harbor Improvement Program, said Bruce Gullifer, the town’s director of community services.

The Land for Maine’s Future grant involved protecting from development a portion of the gravel lot that’s used by commercial fishermen and a portion of the paved lot to the right of the pier.

The new pier, which will be built to the west of the old one, is expected to be about 95 percent finished by the end of April, Gullifer said. The old pier will remain after the new one is completed.

Scarborough now has 35 commercial fishermen, 26 commercial clam diggers and 220 recreational clam diggers, in addition to many recreational fishermen and boaters who will benefit from the new pier, said police Sgt. John O’Malley, who oversees Dave Corbeau, the town’s harbormaster and marine resources officer.

Recreational boaters should also have an easier time launching and tying up when the new pier is complete, O’Malley said.

The town began pursuing the project about six years ago. Gullifer said it took time to qualify for and win the grant money. More recently, the town had to negotiate an easement and a parking arrangement with the Pine Point Fishermen’s Co-op, which is at the foot of the pier.

Gary Violette said he expects the new pier to make a big difference. Now 46, he said it’s harder for him to haul gear than it was 25 years ago.

“I’ve always said getting on the boat is half the battle,” he said. “It’s so much work to get there.”

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

[email protected]