Steamship Authority hires company for Vineyard Haven repairs

Ferry service also gets $1.5 million in federal funds through MOU with Cape transit service.

Damage to a Vineyard Haven seawall will be repaired by the Steamship Authority. - George Brennan

Repairs to the Vineyard Haven seawall will be made by the Robert B. Our Co. of North Harwich, according to minutes of the Steamship Authority’s board of directors meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 21.

The $350,000 contract was awarded to the company to rebuild the Vineyard Haven terminal’s old concrete seawall, which has been undermined by propeller wash. The contract calls for 100 linear feet of sheet piling in front of the existing seawall, new concrete to fill the voids that have been created, and replacing the existing steel expansion system between the concrete pier and asphalt parking lot to reestablish the full support of that seawall, the release states.

Robert Davis, general manager for the Steamship Authority, told The Times he expects work to begin soon. The sheet piling has been ordered, and once that arrives, work is expected to get underway, he said.

“There may be some instances where we are down to one slip,” Mr. Davis said. “We’re trying to make it as least disruptive as possible.”

The board’s meeting was held at the Falmouth Historical Society’s Museums on the Green, with all five members in attendance.

SSA is splitting $3.1 million in federal funds with the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, according to the minutes. Board members approved entering into a memorandum of understanding with the bus company.

In 2015, the bus company asked the Steamship Authority to add ferry passengers to the National Transit Database to become eligible for funding through the Federal Transit Authority. As a result of data provided by the SSA on routes between Woods Hole and Vineyard Haven, Woods Hole and Oak Bluffs, and Hyannis and Nantucket, Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority received an additional $3.1 million in funds, according to the minutes.

SSA will be able to use those funds “for a variety of projects, including capital projects and preventive maintenance,” the minutes state.

In other business, the Steamship Authority renewed its contract with Centerplate of Stamford, Conn. The company, which was previously known as Boston Concessions Group and Boston Culinary Group, has served up food and beverages aboard the ferries since 1993, according to the minutes.

Centerplate was the only company to bid on the contract for SSA concessions. “Centerplate has served the SSA well over the years, and the SSA looks forward to at least another five or 10 years of their excellent customer service and good food (particularly their delicious clam chowder),” the minutes state.

The temporary Woods Hole terminal won’t open as expected in early December. Wind coming off the water needs to be addressed by installing air curtains, according to the minutes. That work should be wrapped up in time for ticket sales to begin from the building before Christmas. The Woods Hole terminal is slated for demolition in February to make way for a new permanent terminal, as well as repairs to the slips in Woods Hole.

And you’ll be able to get to and from the Vineyard on board the Island Queen a week earlier in 2018. The board agreed to allow Island Commuter Corp. to start its season a week earlier for the second year in a row. SSA is also allowing the Island Queen to add two more daily trips between Falmouth and Oak Bluffs to its Monday-Thursday spring and fall schedules. “Those additional trips during ICC’s spring and fall schedules have addressed complaints from the public about the lack of service being provided by the M/V Island Queen after Labor Day when, on Mondays through Thursdays, there previously had been no afternoon trips from Falmouth or morning departures from Oak Bluffs,” the minutes state.

Finally, the board renewed its transportation agreement with the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School District from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. The agreement sets a fixed price for the transportation of student groups, teachers, administrators, and game officials on school-approved travel for the district’s upcoming fiscal year. The price reflects a 50 percent discount over applicable tariff rates, the minutes state. The amount is being reduced from $60,000 to $55,000, to reflect a decrease over the past few years in school-approved travel.

The board’s next monthly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 9:30 am at Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth.