SSA begins final phase of Oak Bluffs terminal project
Tuesday morning Nauset Construction crews used heavy equipment to demolish the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority terminal building as part of the third phase of the terminal reconstruction project.
The demolition went off without a hitch. But the dust was not expected to settle until today.
The removal of the entire building was a surprise to the Oak Bluffs conservation commission, which had issued an order of conditions that described a renovation. On Tuesday afternoon the conservation commission issued a cease and desist order. By Wednesday Steamship Authority, state and town officials were working furiously to sort out what they described as a procedural problem.
Michael Dutton, Oak Bluffs town administrator, said that when the SSA knew it was going to take the building down it should have adjusted the order of conditions. Mr. Dutton said he expected the issues would be worked out by today. "Nobody has any interest in holding up this project," he said.
"The fact is it was just a miscommunication," Marc Hanover, Vineyard SSA member and Oak Bluffs business owner said. "The whole point is we are going to end up with a beautiful new building."
Over the course of the multi-year project, in the last two years the SSA has replaced the ferry slip and passenger loading platform, replaced the former 35-foot transfer bridge with a 50-foot bridge and added two vehicle-staging lanes on the pier.
The final phase of the project, to be completed by April 15, calls for the relocation and expansion of the covered passenger walkway, improvements to the pick-up and drop-off area and the new terminal building.
In May, then Massachusetts transportation secretary and Oak Bluffs seasonal homeowner James A. Aloisi, Jr. announced that the Patrick administration would provide money from the Federal stimulus package to help the boatline complete the third phase. The total cost of the entire project when completed is $15 million.
Video by Rob Gatchell