Chilmark selectmen pick John Keene Excavation for Squibnocket project


At a special meeting Tuesday afternoon, Chilmark selectmen voted to select John Keene Excavation of West Tisbury as contractor for the town’s leg of the Squibnocket Project. The scope of the project includes dismantling a revetment, relocating the Squibnocket Beach parking lot, renourishing the beach’s sand, and forming a large, vegetated dune.

Conservation commission agent Chuck Hodgkinson told the selectmen that three bids came in, two from the Vineyard and a third from off-Island. The lowest bid, at $439,500, was John Keene Excavation, he said, while the second bidder was a White Brothers–Lynch, Richard T. Olsen and Son partnership. He did not put a number to their bid.

Mr. Hodgkinson said he hopes to have a signed contract by Dec. 5.

“When would this project commence?” selectmen and former Squibnocket committee chairman Jim Malkin asked.

“As soon as the causeway is finished — no earlier than Feb. 1st,” Mr. Hodgkinson said.

Mr. Hodgkinson said he planned to meet with John Keene Excavation owner John Keene and engineer Reid Silva next week to review the sequencing for the project.

Reached by telephone after the meeting, Mr. Keene said he planned to break ground in late February or early March, depending on weather conditions. The tricky part of the work, he said, was timing it so that ocean action, especially from storms, doesn’t cause havoc. To that end, he said, “the whole effort is to limit exposure and do it as fast as we can.”

There are ongoing legal challenges to the bridge project, as well as an appeal before the town’s zoning board, scheduled for Dec. 13.