Misplaced guardrail creates new problems at Tisbury ESF

The guard rails have been removed pending repairs to underground conduit damaged when the guardrails were installed. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

A guardrail built at the boundary of Tisbury’s new emergency services facility (ESF) is the latest glitch in the project’s beleaguered construction, a year overdue. ESF building committee chairman Joe Tierney and Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling told The Times, in a conversation on Tuesday following the selectmen’s meeting, that the guardrail installer drove stanchions through the electrical conduit for the ESF property’s light poles.

“The guardrail guy said it’s not his fault, because the conduit was put in the wrong place,” Mr. Tierney said. “So we went to the electrician, who said it wasn’t his fault, because he put the conduit in the trench that was dug there.”

Mr. Tierney blamed it on a lack of supervision by general contractor Seaver Corporation’s superintendent. He said the superintendent should have coordinated the work and instructed the subcontractors on exactly where to put everything.

A third party was hired to excavate the trench. Doing so confirmed that the conduit was damaged. Unfortunately, Mr. Tierney said, in the retrenching process, material that provides support to a nearby retaining wall was damaged.

“On Thursday, we will have a big asphalt summit and a face-to-face encounter with Seaver Corporation’s general manager, because the project manager is on vacation,” Chief Schilling said. “We’ll be addressing that, because it’s a significant issue. The repair for that is not going to be simple.”

“And I’m sure what they’re going to look for is us to take a credit on that,” he added. “And the answer is no. They have taken something that was built correctly, they created several problems, and the repair will not be as good as the original construction, obviously. The architect has sent a letter and put them on notice about what they’ve done, so that’s a significant development.”

Mr. Tierney said the guardrail incident would add to the project’s administrative costs, because the services of HKT Architects must be retained.

The $6.8 million ESF is more than one year behind schedule.