Westbrook officials have closed off its popular boardwalk because of the decaying deck. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Westbrook officials have cordoned off the 20-year-old boardwalk along the Presumpscot River due to safety concerns of its decaying deck.

Eric Dudley, director of engineering and public services, said this week that the 20-year-old boarding needs replacing. His office was contacted about safety concerns last week.

“Arty Ledoux, the department’s operations manager, and I immediately visited the boardwalk to inspect the existing conditions,” Dudley said. “After our evaluation, I made the determination that there had been some rapid deterioration in certain areas that could cause potential safety issues for the public.”

They closed the entire boardwalk that runs on the easterly side of the river behind downtown businesses. Dudley said the boardwalk was installed around 2003 and the pressure-treated decking has deteriorated.

Work is expected to commence by Dec. 15 and is to be completed by the end of 2024.

Mayor Michael Foley released in a statement that repairs to the boardwalk between Vallee Square and Ash Street are scheduled to begin this fall and grant funding has been received from the Cumberland County Community Development Block Grant Program for a portion of the project.

“This area will remain closed to the public until the scheduled repairs are completed,” Foley said, but the paved sidewalks in the area are still accessible for pedestrians and the city will keep the public updated on any changes.

Besides replacing boards, metal railings will be recoated to extend their lifespan. Wooden hand and toe rails at the base of railings will also be replaced. Dudley said the city is going out to bid for repairs.

The boardwalk was a popular destination for thousands flocking to Westbrook in January 2019 to view the swirling ice disk that formed in the river.

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