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Worms Damage Dock, Cause Closure
Waiting on bids, no time frame for a fix
February 8, 2024

arly Wednesday morning at 8a, several cars parked by Oriental’s harbor at roughly the same time. Doors opened, releasing members of the Harbor Waterfronts Committee and Town Manager Diane Miller onto Hodges Street.

The group converged on town dock #1 (also called The town dock), peering at pilings, lying on the wood slats and scrutinizing the under-structure. A plank or two was pried up, offering a different view of what lay below.

Town Manager Diane Miller speaks with Harbor Waterfronts Chair Jim Blackerby on the Hodges Street town dock.

As Officer Bill Wichrowski joined them, Manager Miller asked if he had any caution tape in his car; they were closing the dock to all traffic.

Miller had received a diver’s inspection report the night before saying the dock was very unstable. The cause: worms.

A wormy abode, an unstable support.

They’d eaten their way into the pilings and, while digging out their watery home, had also destroyed the structural integrity of most of the pilings.

Long story short: the worms’ appetite had caused a serious liability for the town – not only for sailors and pedestrians using the dock, but for the town’s economy.

TownDock spoke with Dan Allen to learn more:

The transient season is ahead, and many sailors stop at the docks to visit, re-provision, or find a place to stay for a few nights.

Some town events may be impacted.

Like the Oriental In-Water Boat Show. Organizers are considering cancelling if the dock can’t be repaired in time. Rotarian John Barlow, one of the organizers of the 2024 Oriental In-Water Boat Show, says “the show is going to go on as scheduled despite whatever happens with the dock repairs.”

All plans – for the Boat Show, for repairs or a full replacement, and what to do about transient season – are on hold until Tuesday, February 13. That’s when the repair bids will be opened.

Dan Allen and Jim Blackerby of the Harbor Waterfronts Committee assess the dock.

The Town has to receive at least 3 bids to proceed – even if those bids say the contractor can’t do it.

Less than three bids, and the project has to go out for bid again. Then the town can take the lowest, most responsible bid offer. Here, responsible can mean cheapest or fastest, depending on the bid.

Even then, there’s no guarantee of a timely repair. The Town will have to get on the contractor’s schedule – and hope they have a cancellation, or another project nearby and can fit the project in.

Closed for repairs.

Posted Thursday February 8, 2024 by Allison DeWeese

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