Liberty approves $92,000 in dam repairs

Contractor estimates finishing work in three months
By Fran Gonzalez | Oct 11, 2019
Courtesy of: Calligan Mooring & Dive Service The mechanical gate at the leaking Lake St. George dam controls the water level of the lake. Calligan Mooring & Dive Service of Searsmont is replacing the gate and repairing cracks in the catch basin. The repairs are expected to contain 80% of the leak.

Liberty — Residents approved spending $92,000 for repairs to the Lake St. George dam at a special town meeting Wednesday.

Approximately 50 townspeople attended the meeting and approved a measure capping repairs at $120,000, according to Road Commissioner Tammy Reynolds.

The 1820s-era dam has had leaking issues over the years, including a deteriorating steel culvert under the road. In 2015, Maine Department of Transportation overhauled the road  and installed a cement box culvert, similar in style to large-scale LEGOs with rubber gaskets surrounding each joint.

Calligan Mooring & Dive Service of Searsmont previously produced a video, at Reynolds' request, showing gaps in several sections of MDOT's cement box culvert.

Maine DOT officials were not convinced that the video showed a problem at a Sept. 24 meeting with town officials. Attending were representatives of Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Emergency Management Agency, and Citizens' Association of Liberty Lakes.

Calligan's recommendations to the town suggested the leak would be contained by 80% if the sluice gate of the dam were replaced. The dive service also proposed repairing cracks and holes in the wall of the catch basin with a non-shrinking grout and blanketing the existing wall with four inches of new concrete with rebar reinforcement.

On Thursday, Oct. 10, a day after the town approved the repairs, the Calligan crew was at the dam cleaning out the catch basin in preparation for cement work. Once the new gate is ordered, the company estimates it will take about 12 weeks to complete repairs. Crews plan to work on the walls while the gate is being constructed.

Reynolds said Maine DOT also was at the dam Thursday, with a mechanical camera taking videos of the state-installed culvert. She said she looks forward to receiving a report in the near future.

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