The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News | Memorial Wharf Project Snags Briefly on Undersea Cable Issue

Memorial Wharf Project Snags Briefly on Undersea Cable Issue Zach Harris Wednesday, November 10, 2021 – 8:32pm PRINT1 COMMENT A bundle of undersea Eversource cables supplying power to Chappaquiddick caused a temporary pause in the $4 million reconstruction project under way at Memorial Wharf, with the prospect of construction delays looming until the two sides met Tuesday to resolve the issue. “We’re almost in a stop work situation,” Steve Ewing, chairman of the Memorial Wharf committee, said at a Friday committee meeting. “One way or the other we’ve got to get going here.” The wharf project will raise the pier about 18 inches and rebuild its crumbling infrastructure, with the goal of preserving it for decades to come as sea levels rise. Construction will continue through the winter, with an expected finish date of Memorial Day next year. Work began early this fall. The issue last week centered around a proposed piling that Eversource flagged as being potentially too close to the cables that run beneath the harbor. The piling in question is on the left-hand side facing the wharf, Mr. Ewing said. “Nobody wants to put Chappy in the dark, now do we?” Mr. Ewing told the Gazette. “Not intentionally, anyway.” Eversource sent the town the configuration of the bundle more than a year ago, town administrator James Hagerty told the Gazette, and the town built its plan for the wharf around it. Once work started, Eversource wanted to ensure that the piling was between 10 and 15 feet from the bundle. “We had several meetings just to discuss if there were going to be changes, the ramifications for those changes, and kind of a cooperative type way forward,” Mr. Hagerty said. Now the town will change the angle of the piling and an Eversource representative will be on site “providing support as work in the area of concern continues,” Eversource spokesman Chris McKinnon said in an emailed statement to the Gazette. “Working to quickly find an agreeable solution, we provided feedback to town engineers to modify the pilings configuration, and they were able to comply with most of our requests to minimize risk,” the statement said in part. There were no delays to construction while the situation was straightened out, Mr. Hagerty said. “I wouldn’t even say [construction] slowed down,” he added. “They just did different areas that weren’t next to the power lines.” In an unrelated problem, there turned out to be more corrosion on the steel pilings of the bulkhead than anticipated by initial engineer reports. Mr. Hagerty said there are three potential solutions: cut out the bad steel and replace it, encapsulate it in concrete, or replace the piling. Replacing the piling is not part of the approved permit, according to Mr. Hagerty. There will be additional costs associated with the issue, and the town is awaiting quotes from BTT Marine Construction, the contractor, before it decides on a course of action. There is always the potential for delays with any construction project, and so far the bumps in the road have been small, Mr. Hagerty said. “We knew this was going to be a complicated project. Any time you’re bringing in dive teams, you have marine construction, it’s complicated,” he said. “We built in a degree of contingency based on expecting those complications. As of now, the complications have been somewhat minimal, but we’re going to work out as best we can to keep the project on track and get it complete by Memorial Day.”

The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News | Memorial Wharf Project Snags Briefly on Undersea Cable Issue