SSA says website, Oak Bluffs terminal repairs on track

The Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority pier took a major beating from Hurricane Sandy that left the structure in need of major repairs. — File photo by Diana Waring

The Steamship Authority received an update on web progress at its April meeting in New Bedford Tuesday last week.

SSA general manager Wayne Lamson reported that most, if not all, of the front-end development of the SSA’s long-awaited new website has been completed by iMarc, the website development firm which the SSA is working with on this project, according to a management summary of the meeting.

Final steps before the website can be launched include running load tests to ensure that the website can handle the volume of customers who are expected to visit it, management said.

SSA director of engineering and maintenance Carl Walker reported that the Oak Bluffs pier repairs are progressing well. The contractor is in the process of replacing all the decking, heavily damaged in Hurricane Sandy last October.

“As long as the contractor continues to receive deliveries of wood for the decking, the work should remain on track for the terminal to open as scheduled on May 16, 2013,” management reported.

The repair price tag is approximately $2.5 million. High seas generated by the storm damaged the main section of the terminal’s pier. In an effort to minimize damage to the pier during future severe weather events, the pier has been redesigned with steel piles and pile caps in place of the failed pier that was built of wooden members. In addition, the pier is being designed to have the decking be the weak link in the design, allowing the deck planking to give way when extreme sea water pressure is exerted from underneath the pier, according to an earlier management report.

Also on schedule, the expansion of the Palmer Avenue parking lot and improvements are on schedule and expected to be completed in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

The members also approved SSA management’s recommendation to award the contract for a feasibility study for the Woods Hole Terminal Reconstruction Project to Bertaux + Iwerks Architects LLC of Boston.

The objective of the feasibility study is to determine how all of the Woods Hole terminal’s current and future operational needs can best be accomplished either on the terminal property itself or at one or more other locations, management said. Most important is determining how the terminal can accommodate three operational ferry slips.