May 25, 2022

First Selectman says Essex boat launch project to be finished by next week – updated pictures

Essex boat launch under repair - 30 December, 2010

ESSEX— First Selectman Phil Miller said Wednesday the late starting town boat launch project would be completed by next week, within the time deadline specified in the state Department of Environmental Protection permit.

Miller said crews with Old Colony Construction of Clinton are pouring concrete this week for the new boat launch on the Connecticut River at the foot of Main Street. He said removal of a steel cofferdam, which was used to remove river water from the construction area, would be the final step for the project. “This project will be completed to our satisfaction within the parameters of the budget and our permit,” Miller said.

Completion of the project, funded by a $191,000 state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant awarded last year, had seemed more uncertain soon after construction began earlier this month, with some members of the harbor management commission and economic development commission urging Miller to dismiss the contractor and call the construction bond for the project at a Dec. 16 meeting.

The commission members were irate that Old Colony Construction, which was awarded the contract on a low bid of $103,000 in August, did not start work on schedule in September, when the river tides are lowest. The company did not have all necessary materials on hand to begin work in September, and the start of construction was delayed further through the fall by disputes over whether payment of union prevailing wages was required, and whether a cofferdam that was not part of the initial bid was necessary.

The contractor eventually acknowledged that payment of prevailing wages was required because the project was funded by a state grant, and town officials authorized the cofferdam at an additional cost of about $39,000.