The Coast Guard is urging members of the public who haven’t done so already to remove their ice shacks from the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers as it begins its annual spring breakout to reduce the risk of flooding as snow and river ice melts.
Chief Warrant Officer Robert Nichols says the operation begins Wednesday, and is being done in two phases using four ice breakers — three at 65 feet and one at 140 feet.
“The 140-foot ice breaker is only going to break up to the Richmond town line, basically the old Richmond bridge area, and once that mission is complete, we’re going to release the 140 from there. They’re going to proceed up the Penobscot River and the three 65-footers will continue from Richmond up to Gardiner,” he says.
Nichols says, depending on conditions, the Coast Guard is hoping to complete breaking ice within three days but will stay as long as necessary.
Unlike most years, this will be the second time this winter there will be ice breaking on parts of the Kennebec. An operation took place at the end of January to try and reduce flooding in the Hallowell-Gardiner area.