Pier Road in the Cape Porpoise was swamped on Dec. 23. The photo as was provided to selectmen by engineers at Woodward & Curran. A proposal to raise the roadway by as much as 4 1/2 feet has recently moved on to full design phase. Courtesy photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – The Pier Road project took another step forward late last month after selectmen reviewed the latest modifications to the reconstruction model.

They voted that the proposal to raise the causeway to Bickford Island – the only way on and off the island that is home to residential dwellings, a handful of commercial buildings and the home of the fishing fleet and Cape Porpoise Pier – moves on to the full design stage.

The proposal for Pier Road raises the causeway about 4 1/2 feet from its lowest point. Pier Road swamps periodically, as it did on Dec. 23 when there were astronomically high tides and 50 mph winds and again in January.

This image shows the design of the current kayak launch on Pier Road in Cape Porpoise, along with a newly designed launch – part of a much larger project to raise a section of Pier Road by 4 1/2 feet to keep it above storm surges that currently tend to swamp the roadway. Courtesy image

The latest proposal also includes a new design for the kayak launch, which exists on private property but is used by the public through an easement.

The town of Kennebunkport, in July, was awarded $2.6 million from a Maine Infrastructure Adaption Grant Jand will contribute 2.6 percent of that as a local share to address rising tides and storm surge that impact Pier Road. The project must be completed by 2026.

Woodward and Curran engineer Megan McDevitt told selectmen that the sidewalk had been reduced to five feet wide as requested, from the original eight-foot proposal, among other modifications. She said the kayak launch now includes a back-in ramp at a 12 percent slope. She said the width has been reduced to 18 feet where it ties into the roadway, which had originally been proposed at 24 feet wide. She said it expands as it nears the water. Also, she said, “we tried to minimize the impact on the area around it.”

Selectwoman Sheila Matthews-Bull expressed concern about the narrower entrance. McDevitt said  a “turning template” analysis had been completed, confirming that there would still be sufficient room for a vehicle with a trailer to use the ramp.

“I think it will work, it’s a pretty good balance,” said selectmen board chair Ed Hutchins.

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