Naples construction update at BOS meeting

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES — Causeway crosswalks and wooden railings on the public dock surfaced at a selectmen’s meeting when talk turned to the construction transforming Route 302 as it passes through town.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen brought up the concerns and questions they’ve heard from residents as it becomes more apparent how the Causeway might look when summer traffic arrives in late May.

Selectman Christine Powers said she’s had conversations with many people who have wondered where the crosswalks will be going in.

According to Selectman Rick Paraschak, a traditional crosswalk by Rick’s Café would not be safe after the widening of the Route 114 intersection is completed.

“Rick’s Café was the worst place to put in a crosswalk,” Paraschak said.

Selectman Robert Caron Sr. commented on human behavior, saying, “I don’t care how many crosswalks they put (on the Causeway), people are going to cross wherever they want.”

Paraschak pointed out that one of the areas where the town would like a permanent crosswalk is being redesigned so it meets the requirements of the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT).

“We wanted to put in a crosswalk between the (Naples Public) library and the ice cream shop,” Paraschak said.  The curb on one side will be lowered to make it a legal crosswalk, he said.

Naples Town Manager Derik Goodine explained the need for a railing along the public dock, and a desire to keep that expense down.

Looking at how the town dock is taking shape to account for a handicapped ramp, “crews are exposing a 2 1/2-foot” drop, therefore prompting the need for a railing, said Goodine.

“With the sheer height of that, people won’t be able to get out of their boats,” Goodine said.

MDOT has specifications for wooden railings to be put in along the commercial docks on the Causeway, he said.

“But we didn’t think that looked good,” Goodine said.

The town is pricing about 70 linear feet of three-bar steel railing; and the town would be financially responsible for any amount that is more than the cost of the wooden railings, he said.

The board could decide to use money from a town account for Causeway expenses “such as trash cans and stuff like that,” Goodine said. There is approximately $30,000 available in that account, he said.

Paraschak said the railing wasn’t a necessity.

“When it comes to the waterfront, there are no railings needed,” he said, adding he and Goodine did a quick site walk. “For one-third of the way down the ramp, where it gets closer to water, we’d be best served to have a railing there.”

He added, “Remember where the kids used to jump off the old town dock onto the beach? It’s going to be jacked up and will go down 12-to-1 for handicapped code. That jump into the sand will be 3 or 4 feet.”

Paraschak said the town could elect to keep the costs lower by leaving the wooden rail that MDOT would pay for as part of the Bay of Naples Bridge and Causeway construction project.

Caron questioned if the money could be taken from elsewhere other than the account for miscellaneous expenses on the Causeway.

“Instead of taking it out of that reserve, the money should come from what is committed to the state,” he said.

Goodine said a board vote wasn’t needed right away, but MDOT will “give us the wooden rail for no additional costs.”

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