Waves splash along the seawall at Middle Beach in Kennebunk. About 620 feet of steel sheet pile seawall will be installed along a portion of the seawall later this year. Tammy Wells Photo

KENNEBUNK — Those who live along Middle Beach, or walk or drive there, will see work on the seawall commencing sometime next month.

The project involves replacement of 620 feet of timber seawall with a steel sheet pile wall and associated restoration of the sidewalk and roadway. The new seawall will be located behind the existing one, said Director of Community Development and Town Engineer Chris Osterrieder.

The $1.3 million project is largely paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the town’s responsibility is $133,000, or 10 percent, he said. Maine Emergency Management Agency contributes 15 percent.

The project was developed following a damaging storm in March 2018.

SumCo Eco Contracting of Peabody, Massachusetts, submitted the low bid, which was accepted unanimously by the Select Board. There was discussion of another bid, from a Maine corporation, that was $48,000 more. Osterrieder told the Select Board that the project was already $250,000 more than FEMA had expected, and while the federal agency accepted that increase, Osterrieder said he wasn’t sure they would accept another.

He said the project is fairly straightforward and will be the last bit of town-involved work done along Middle Beach – although the U.S Army Corps of Engineers plans some work on the jetty next year.

Osterrieder said the work is essentially a four-month project – but is also weather dependent so six months has been built into the timeline, with the completion in May.

Select Board member Shiloh Schulte said storms that do damage to the seawall and other coastal entities are consequences of climate change and that Kennebunk and other communities need to think ahead.

“We need to plan ahead, of how we handle that area the next time it happens,” said Schulte.

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