East Lyme - A new concrete ramp at the town-owned boat launch on Grand Street along the Niantic River should be in place by March.
The project calls for replacing a damaged 20-foot-by-60-foot concrete ramp. The ramp needs to be replaced because a series of concrete planks, which people back their trailers down, had become worn down and broken. The axles of many trailers were also breaking during use of the ramp, said First Selectman Paul Formica.
When completed, 2-foot-wide stone strips will run along the side of the ramp next to its existing bulkhead, according to the project's bid documents.
The documents said the current ramp's "overly rigid support rails" led the concrete planks to break down when vehicles or trailers passed over it.
For two years, the town has set aside a total of $140,000 in funds for the project. The town could realize some savings since the bid came in slightly under budget, said Formica.
He said the launch is a town asset that needed to be repaired. Undertaking the project, which is in the town's capital plan, is in line with the town's philosophy to make improvements to infrastructure as long as taxes are also kept down, he said.
The boating industry is also an important part of the economic vitality of downtown Niantic, Formica said.
Formica added that installing six dinghy docks near Cini Park is also a subject of discussion, especially as a means to attract boats now that there is an improved entryway with the recently replaced Niantic River Bridge. A resident suggested the transient moorings, and Formica said he is discussing the idea with Dick Morris, the town's new harbormaster.
Mattern Construction Inc. of Baltic will build the new ramp. Construction is expected to be wrapped up by late February or early March, but the time frame depends on the weather.