SSA, your slip is showing

The new slip at the Steamship Authority's Woods Hole Terminal is open and ready for use. — George Brennan

Updated at 12:15 pm

There was a noticeable uptick at the Woods Hole terminal Friday morning as tourists pulling luggage, toting golf clubs, and pushing baby carriages mixed with commuters and Islanders for the 8:15 am Island Home crossing to Vineyard Haven.

The slip that’s been under construction by Jay Cashman Inc. for most of the off-season was freshly paved, and an orange netting marked the area where ferries will connect to the slip. The transfer bridge was installed last week, according to an update from the Steamship Authority.

“At the end of the day on Thursday, the new slip was available for public use,” Bill Cloutier, project manager, wrote in his weekly update. “Cashman and all the subcontractors have pulled together and worked tirelessly to make this slip operational for this weekend. It was a great effort.”

Though it’s ready, it won’t be used, Sean Driscoll, a spokesman for the SSA, wrote in an email. “We needed it to be ready to use, however, should operational circumstances dictate it during this very busy weekend,” he wrote.

Some work will continue next week. Cashman will continue work on catwalks and mooring bollards, according to Cloutier’s update. “They will also finish setting up a temporary trestle to construct the passenger platform next season. They will also set the ticket booth, while the utility contractors finish their work to support the slip operations,” Cloutier wrote.

On Thursday evening, as the Island Home docked at 5:45 pm, crews were still busily working on the slip, though there were fewer workers than the day before. On Wednesday, the slip area was a flurry of activity throughout the day and into the night. At 8 pm, a cement truck was spinning at the site in the hustle to get meet the SSA’s deadline to have the slip operational by Friday.

One crane and other equipment sit on a barge anchored nearby. Another crane remained at the site Friday morning, though no work was going on among the bustle of buses, trucks, cars, and ferry passengers.

“The large crane will return to Slip No. 3 after the weekend for some more work before both cranes are moved out for the season by mid-June,” Driscoll wrote.

Last year, the SSA carried 49,704 passengers too and from Martha’s Vineyard on Memorial Day weekend, down from 52,703 in 2016. The number of cars was also down in 2018, from 7,022 in 2016 to 6,926. Truck traffic was up from 1,420 total trips in 2016 to 1,571 trips in 2018.

Meanwhile, the MV Governor is back in service making freight runs between Woods Hole and Vineyard Haven. The Governor is not on the SSA’s published schedules.

Updated with more details from the SSA.