SSA tackles leaky canopies


Those flashy new glass canopies, decorated with nautical charts, at the Steamship Authority’s Woods Hole terminal aren’t doing the job of keeping rain off passengers.

All week, crews from Cherry Hill Glass Co. have been at the terminal working on the canopies. On Friday morning, as rain fell outside, the water trickled down the columns that hold up the canopy at Slip 2 while passengers boarded the Island Home.

Sean Driscoll, a spokesman for the SSA, confirmed the canopies are being worked on because of the leaks.

The seals on the rain gutters failed, and therefore, the water is leaking on the outside of the columns,” Driscoll wrote in an email. “Cherry Hill, the gutter subcontractor, is repairing the gutters on all canopies as warranty work.”

Driscoll responded to a follow-up question asking how much the canopies cost, saying “approximately $2.2 million.” A document breaking down the cost of the overall project shows that the canopies cost $2.2 million each.

According to the SSA’s weekly construction update, repair work on the canopy gutters will continue into next week.


  1. Roofs, canopies, gazebos, tents and other coverings designed to shed water are usually not V-shaped, they’re inverted V-shapes.

    Luckily this was built in an arid climate with little to no rainfall, heavy winds, salt spray, or periodic hurricanes and Nor’easters.

    Oh, wait…

  2. The inverted V shape seems ideal to funnel rain and sleet into the faces of waiting passengers. The upward aimed lights do provide an architectural competition-worthy beautiful look, though of course most of the light just lights the sky (reducing views of the stars), rather than lighting the area where passengers are walking, but hey, the leaking light also annoys the adjacent Woods Hole neighbors because it shines in their eyes.
    Not to mention the SSA plan is still to build the Taj Mahal ticket office that will be big enough to hold the crowds no longer waiting in line to physically buy tickets because they can buy them online for their phones. Why not keep the cute smaller building that has proven capable of handling the crowds for the past two years? I guess because it’s not real money they are spending, it’s just money that can be recouped later by raising ticket prices….

  3. Please note that it’s $2.2 million for EACH canopy. The contract shows an additional 1.0 million for ‘handrail lighting’ and pier lighting. Lighting on the dock should be for safety of passengers only. Excessive lighting creates a navigational hazard for traffic coming through Woods Hole passage.

    • Without the SSA Wood Hole is lit up like whorehouse.
      All those white, red and green flashing lights.
      The SSA is 90%+ of the dusk to dawn Woods Hole traffic.
      SSA lighting does not affect those transiting Woods Hole Passage, just those approaching Woods, hole from the South .

  4. This is just plain sad. Remember those tents that were there before? The ones that might have cost ten or twenty thousand dollars each? They actually worked to shelter passengers, unlike these new “floating placemat” style sculptures. This is a classic example of how the SSA keeps doing things wrong.

    • How long did the tents last?
      How many people did they accommodate?

      If only Tom was on the SSA board these kinds of things would never happen.

      • The tents lasted until they took them down.
        The tents could shelter scores of people, though with Covid, the advisability of crowding is now more an issue than previously.
        You are kind to suggest that were I on the SSA Board that these things would never happen.
        You can be assured that had I been, I’d have fought tooth and nail for rationality, good design, and economy in the Woods Hole project, and in the SSA other projects.

  5. They looked like a nice idea—I liked them!

    But I guess it was a PR person’s vision, not a real practical solution for a real situation.

    High-quality tents, though “temporary,” would probably work better.

    Speaking of “temporary,” the existing “temporary” ticket office seems to be working fine.

    Let’s scrap the unpopular new terminal.


    And save ourselves $60 million (before overruns).

      • Albert –I doubt that arrays of solar panels up there would cost more than those “floating placemats” ( great nick name there Tom ) but even if it did cost more up front it wouldn’t be that much more , and would likely recoup the extra cost in a year or 2. It would probably generate enough electricity to completely pay for the itself in about 20 years, capitalization cost included.
        And it would help the environment, as well as taking pressure off an already overtaxed electrical grid.

  6. Why is the SSA wasting tax payers money on canopies?
    If the passengers don’t want to get wet they should bring their privately funded umbrellas.

    • And the SSA does not know how to run the SSA.
      From the comfort of their remote 14-15 million dollar administration palace.

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