Saco officials have learned that preliminary cost updates by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create a spur jetty to combat erosion at Camp Ellis and Saco Bay have risen to $41.6 million, up from the $26.9 million approved by Congress 15 years ago. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald Photo

SACO — The cost of combating erosion at Camp Ellis — a Saco beach community —has risen considerably since 2007, when U.S. Congress allocated $26.9 million to do so.

Saco City Administrator Bryan Kaenrath on Monday told the City Council that preliminary revised figures by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers now put the project at $41.6 million.

“It is amazing what (time), inflation and construction costs will do,” said Kaenrath.

The city administrator recently met online with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He told the City Council that the proposed  project — a 750-foot spur jetty — may require cost sharing by the city. He said that potential cost was still being calculated, “based on a number of things going back the last 100 years.”

The congressional delegation has pledged to work to keep the city’s cost share to a minimum, Kaenrath said.

Saco City Council in April 2021 signed a letter to the USACE designed to kickstart the process of halting erosion along Saco’s shoreline after a lull of several years. Given the updated information, the city will be required to submit another, said Kaenrath.


While he described the updated costs of the project — and the city’s potential cost sharing — as “not great news,” he said U.S. Sen. Susan  Collins, R-Maine, was adding language to the existing Water Resources Development Act bill that would authorize up to $45 million for the project.

“We’re waiting for those preliminary costs to be finalized,” said Kaenrath. Once that happens, the next step would be for the council to decide on a letter of support for the updated figures before moving forward with a Project Partnership Agreement.

There was no discussion by the council on the update.

Several years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed building a 750-foot spur perpendicular to the existing Saco jetty to break up waves as they made their way to the shore.

Storms pounding the shoreline — due, many have said, to the existing jetty — have meant the loss of 38 homes over the last 50 years in the Camp Ellis section of  the city.

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