Citgo tank project hits bump in the road

Tisbury blocks use of town property until conditions are met and 'bottom out' hazard is fixed.


Updated 4/9

Tisbury banned a contractor from using Beach Street Extension to run a pump hose out to the harbor Thursday until steps were taken to lessen the impact of the contractor’s bridge over a hose at Five Corners and until indemnification documentation was provided. 

Thursday night the contractor expanded the bridge by adding more interlocking pieces, making passage over it less bumpy. Adam Guaraldi, a senior project geologist for Corporate Environmental Advisors, a company involved with the project, said on Friday vehicles should cross the bridge slowly as speed exacerbates the bumpiness. He said most vehicles should have no trouble passing over the bridge but cars modified to ride low or cars with low air dams could experience problems. 

Vehicles slowly traversed the Lego-like bridge Thursday, some of them scraping bottom. The lower the vehicle sat the worse it seemed to fare on the bridge. Friday saw vehicles pass with less struggle but impacts were still evident. The propeller of a towed boat struck the asphalt after clearing the bridge. 

Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande, DPW director Kirk Mettel and select board chair Jim Rogers visited the jobsite midday Friday where the contractor is at work preparing XtraMart’s Citgo gas station property on Beach Road for underground gas tanks. The job will require water to be pumped away. 

Grande told The Times he needs a document indemnifying the town before the contractor can be permitted to pump water down Beach Road Extension. While standing just beyond the fencing around the jobsite, Rogers told Guaraldi he wanted that document by 4pm. He also said he wanted assurance hose bridges and ramps on sidewalks were ADA compliant. 

Rogers began criticizing the hose bridge Thursday. Run across Beach Road by Five Corners, it’s essentially a raised yellow ramp to protect pump hose from vehicles. When holes are dug for the new tanks, water will be pumped through mobile filtration equipment, along beach road and across it, down beach road extension, and into Vineyard Haven Harbor. On Thursday evening Rogers said the bridge was laid out in such a way that vehicles routinely bottomed-out. Rogers said he wanted the hose bridge modified to be less impactful. He also said the contractor was supposed to provide Tisbury with a letter or instrument of indemnification and with proof of insurance and allegedly hasn’t. The select board approved the elaborate setup with those conditions at a meeting last month.

The Citgo station got permission from the state and town to use the above-the-ground hose to pump groundwater to the harbor because the drainage system on Beach Road is hopelessly clogged. Rogers emphasized that until the contractor meets the conditions agreed to by Citgo, town property such as Beach Road Extension, is off limits. Rogers said the town has less influence over state roadways such as Beach Road. He said he insisted on a police detail — one the contractor pays for. That detail was by the Bridge Thursday night. As soon as the police departed, some time around 1pm, Guaraldi said a person purposefully spun their tires on the bridge. He asked that motorists refrain from doing that as it dislodges sections of the bridge and shifts the hose.

Updated with new information.



  1. Good! I’m one of the cars (mini-van) with a low bottom – that was horrible! Though it did slow down the traffic at 5 Corners!

    • I have a mini-van as well and got completely hung up on the bridge. I had to back up and reverse direction right in the middle of five corners with traffic on all sides. You can imagine how fun that is for everyone on site!

  2. The problem with the bridge is that it’s too small not too large. The incline needs to be more gradual and that is accomplished with a larger bridge.

    • That is certainly what the video suggests: the “bridge” needs ramps on either side.

      Long-body trucks were also almost bottoming out because both wheels were on the asphalt, not the bridge, at the same time.

  3. I have been driving a mini cooper for over 4 years. I came out of the post office today, and was going to go to O.b. As I waited my turn to go through 5 corners, i asked myself whether I should try to navigate that hump.. It would have been interesting to get stuck, but really, i didn’t want to go through the hassle to sue somebody if i grounded out.
    i chose a longer route.

  4. If the contractors don’t know how to properly assemble those Lego type construction building blocks. They might want to read the instructions or hire a professional engineer.
    Just looking at the pictures all they have to do is to add more flat sections to make it longer. Just like the last comment by R Scott mentioned. When I went down with a Tesla Model 3 There was no police officer, only a construction worker that was no help. I made a U-Turn in front of bridge with help from oncoming vehicles stopping for me. Who is responsible for damage done to vehicles, Town or contractor?

  5. After driving over that incredible speed bump, it brought to mind discussions in the ancient past about installing traffic signals there to calm traffic. How about installing more perminent raised crosswalks? Maybe they could figure out how to divert the water from there after a rain storm too….

  6. We drove over this bump four times in the last two days, to and from the SSA to OB. (Note to self: Go the “long way” until this bump is straightened out.) On Friday, 4/9, I2:30 pm, did not see a police officer there. The bump scraped my small, low car. (It’s a Yaris; built, not modified, to “run low”.) I would think that a long, slow, gradual approach on both sides would better minimize damage potential. Good that the Times has a front row seat to tell us how this is going.

  7. I didn’t know this stuff existed. So why not just leave the ramp on the 5 corners side, and add flat panels all the way to the bridge. All the silly road problems fixed, at a fraction of the cost of what is being proposed. No more potholes, no more flooded roadway. If you just make it wide enough to meet state standards, and push it to the existing curb on one side or the other, and put a curb on it, bikes could use the existing roadway.
    We could likely get it in a specific color– Vineyard purple or rainbow, for example..
    And if it were made of recycled plastic—- WOW !
    I know– all the naysayers are gonna talk about access to all the businesses, problems with snow, rats living under it, etc. etc. — silly details that can be worked out.
    We should at the very least hire a fancy engineering firm for a few hundred thousand dollars to tell us it’s a really dumb idea, and then we can argue about it for 10 years or so.

  8. Let’s not loose focus. According to the begging of the article, if the town maintained their storm water catch basins regularly they could have discharged their water as they had planned in the first place. This would also help some with street flooding after heavy rainfall.
    This would have eliminated a need for the ramp and hose to the ocean.

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