Naples gets MDOT bill

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Maintaining areas near natural water is balanced with environmental concerns.

For example, the chemical-based products once used to upkeep lawns and seal decking or docks are no longer environmentally correct. Those chemicals, which run off into the water, affect fish mortality rates or cause algae blooms. Not only is it a water conservation issue, but also using products containing certain chemicals is in violation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laws.

This is the basis for a quandary that the Town of Naples faces.

Town officials want to better protect the Causeway boardwalk — a financial investment in infrastructure — from the harsh elements.

According to Naples Town Manager Derik Goodine, the town will not pay the debt owed to the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) until the problem is fixed.

The problem is obvious to anyone who has strolled along the Causeway.

The boardwalk was designed to look like a stained wooden walkway; and sections of it have not fared well over the winter. “They used a different sealant because it is near the water. The old sealer is not EPA-approved anymore,” Goodine said.

About a month ago, the Town of Naples received a bill from MDOT for $200,000.

With the blessing of the Naples Board of Selectmen, Goodine plans to hold off on the payment until the boardwalk issue is resolved.

“Our biggest concern is the sidewalks, especially if they are going to deteriorate into dust over a period of time,” Goodine said.

A meeting with MDOT officials has been put on the calendar, Goodine told the board on Monday when the topic of the Causeway’s boardwalk came up.

“It looks like a meteor field on the moon. Literally, it looks like a meteor crater,” he said.

“Some of those areas are totally gone, especially (the boardwalk) around the bridge,” he said.

“It is not isolated to one area,” he said.

Naples Selectman Bob Caron II said he was “surprised” at the how poorly the boardwalk had held up this winter. He said he was disappointed that it was happening in so many areas along the boardwalk.

Goodine suspects that the calcium chloride, which is used to melt ice on roadway, is the main culprit.

He also theorized that the concrete on the boardwalk is more porous than the concrete used for the plain gray sidewalks.

He did not say whether refraining from the use of salt on that stretch of Route 302 was a viable option.

“They have had the experts out there before,” he said.

Today town officials and representatives from the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) will inspect the boardwalk and try to find a resolution.


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