Long Wharf Plans Still Pending

The January 26 meeting of the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board found the members once again hearing that final construction plans are still pending for Long Wharf.

            A previous joint meeting with the town’s consultant, Childs Engineering, and the Select Board sent Childs on a mission to obtain more material-cost estimates, primarily for stone, as well as the prospect of performing more testing on the existing structure to determine the condition and materials used on the overall foundation.

            On this night, MAB Chairman Carlos DeSousa said that cost estimates could not be pinned down using conceptual designs, a basic concept of what the work might entail. Rather, a schematic design for such finite estimating was needed, a stage the project is far from at this point in time.

            The condition and materials currently in place in the foundation remain an unsolved mystery. DeSousa said that in order to perform sufficient test borings, a Request for Quotation would necessarily be posted and that Childs could assist with that. For now, “there’s a delay on a final decision.” DeSousa said a suggestion brought to his attention that promoted a design he considers more marina-like in scope is not appropriate for the historic-wharf configuration.

            Regarding the reuse of stones that will be removed during construction, DeSousa said it was hard to determine just how much stone was in play, but Harbormaster Jamie McIntosh was attempting to find a local source for future reference.

            Town Administrator Mike Lorenco said that there was some information from test borings completed by Field Engineering a few years ago that was provided to Childs earlier in the process, but that Childs had yet to comment.

            Before moving on to other business, DeSousa said, “There’s no payback from fixing the wharf.” The construction cost is estimated to be in the $8,000,000 to $10,000,000 range.

            McIntosh reported that he is working with Lorenco to secure additional funding from unexpended warrant articles to pay for dredging work. He said that because the spoils from the operation must go into a specialized transfer station, additional costs will be incurred. Timing for executing the work is also pending, given that regulatory agencies won’t allow work to commence during winter flounder season.

            McIntosh also reported that regular maintenance of all wharves needs to be ongoing in spite of any larger construction project pending. “We have to maintain the wharves.” Repairs include eight new and/or replacement pilings at Barstow Wharf.

            A summer event is in the planning, McIntosh stated, when the sailing vessel Arabella takes its maiden voyage around Mattapoisett Harbor. He said he had been working with the boat builder and his team on the logistics and that a small festival is also planned in Shipyard Park. A June 17 launch date is planned.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board is scheduled for Thursday, February 23, at 7:00 pm.

Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board

By Marilou Newell

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