Southport Column: Important bridge news and more

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 11:15am

From our selectman, Mary Lou Koskela, comes the following information. “The Selectmen met with the MDOT (Maine Dept. of Transportation) Bridge Engineer Division and other engineers for the project to replace the Thompson Bridge. The pertinent details from the hour and a half meeting are: The DEP ‘in-water’ work permit time frame is from 8/1/2019 - 5/14/2020; Clearing of trees and moving of utility lines will begin anytime and must be completed by 9/3/2019.

“The road will be closed on 9/3/2019, and northbound traffic on Route 238 will be diverted across the Cross Road. Only local traffic will proceed beyond the barrier/ detour sign. The Plummer Road will be designated as ‘No Thru Traffic’ and reserved for the use of the immediate neighborhood due to the limitations of the single lane passage. By contract the new bridge is to be open to two-way traffic on 5/21/2020, and the project is to be complete by 6/19/2020.”

If I am reading the above information correctly, it means, when we want to travel up the east side of the island, we will be detouring to Cross Road from September nearly through May. Let’s get ready now to program a few extra minutes of travel time into our days. I see the replacement of the Thompson Bridge, also known as the Decker Cove Bridge, as a rehearsal for the repair of the Southport Bridge.

The need for all traffic to be extra careful was also necessary early Saturday morning when about 165 runners and those who cheered them assembled on the slopes of the Southport Yacht Club lawn. An article about the “Rock the Boat” 5K run and walk race appears elsewhere in this paper, so read it for more details, and you can bring up www.barttiming.com and click on Live Timing 4 for results.

My most amusing and ‘holding my breath’ moment occurred when, before the race started, a very large, tractor trailer truck came down the narrow road toward the yacht club bearing food supplies for Cozy’s Dockside. It was able to park and deliver in the restaurant’s parking lot, but when it wanted to leave, it barely could make the turn back onto the road as a bright red car was parked on the berm. After backing several times the truck slowly crawled up and hill and disappeared, not, fortunately, bumping into any runners, bikers, or babes in strollers.

That scene made me wish for a path for foot, stroller, and bike traffic off the roadway — probably a fantasy as it would be necessary only a short portion of the year, but listening to Will Jacobs recite the average attendance at the sailing classes thus far this season makes me grateful again for the miracle that all traverse that road safely.

The Southport Yacht Club continued to be a busy place this weekend with the Past Commodores’ Clam Bake on Saturday evening and the August annual meeting on Sunday morning. Among the news coming from the annual meeting was that yacht club folding chairs have been disappearing. If you are the chair thief or see SYC chairs elsewhere, please return them.

As usual the clam bake was well attended both for the food, which was delicious, as well as for the authentic experience of the open fire, the baked under seaweed food, the fellowship, and the delicious cake. The lovely evening with quite unusual clouds that did not open with any rain capped the experience. Thanks to all those who worked so hard to prepare the meal.

Our next eating together opportunity, if you get to read this online in time, is Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the Southport Island Association (SIA) picnic. Please note, the picnic is Tuesday, not Sunday, Aug. 4, as originally announced on the yearly schedule. Please call Skip and Jane Williams 633-2495, at whose home on Pound Road, the picnic will be held, if you need more information.

And again, if reading this in time, note that on Aug. 7, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Southport Memorial Library, Jim Singer will share with us his time in Normandy for the 75th celebration of the D-Day landing. On Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Hendricks Hill Museum, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Gerry Gamage will explain the history and demonstrate how to make a wooden lobster trap. The event is limited to 15 people, so please call 633-1102 for a reservation.

A funeral service will be held at All Saints by-the-Sea on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 11 a.m. for Ellen Hunter Scott, the daughter of Walter Scott, who predeceased him on Sept. 23, 2018. Ellen was remembered and her life celebrated at her home parish, St. Stephen’s in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, and this service is an opportunity for her Maine friends to do the same.

The coming weekend is also packed with activities including the Arts and Crafts Fair at the Southport Yacht Club for two days, Aug. 10 and 11, open each day from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Many local artists and some artists ‘from away’ will display their works, so again, this is a good opportunity to begin your Christmas shopping and get ahead of any birthday shopping you want to do. Of course, it is also possible to shop for yourself!

More shopping will be available at the Firemen’s Auction the following Saturday, Aug. 17. If you are on the island, you have seen the items beginning to pile up around and in the firehouse and across the road in the school parking lot. As usual the Flea Market sales will begin at 6 a.m.; the Yard Sale at 7 a.m.; and the live auction at 9 a.m.

Looking back at the Southport Memorial Library Book and Bake sale, I learned that my predictions were correct concerning the rapidity with which the baked goods disappeared. When I arrived about 11 a.m. on Friday, the first day of the two-day sale, only two peanut butter brownies were left. Our librarians said the sale was very successful. Again, thanks to all who helped, both by preparing and by shopping.