The top of Memorial Wharf will be temporarily moved to the parking lot as the town begins an extensive project to replace portions of the wharf.
The project will replace parts of the wharf and pier that have reached the end of their service life, and provide maintenance to other structural elements that need service. Engineering designs also allow the town to raise the dock if sea levels continue to rise.
The $3.5 million project includes $2.5 million that was approved by town voters through a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion at 2021 town meeting, and $1 million through a state Seaport Economic Council Grant.
The top of the wharf will be preserved, and will be slid on rollers in a similar fashion to moving a house, Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty told The Times in an email.
The project is expected to be completed by Memorial Day.
The wharf is a popular spot for participants in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, which is in week two of its five weeks of competition. Derby officials alerted participants to the construction on their Facebook page. “We have confirmation that the contractor for the Edgartown Memorial Wharf restoration will commence today, Monday, 9/20,” the post states. “All public access to the wharf — from land and by boat — is shut down until the project is completed in the spring. Please obey all posted signs, etc.”
That prompted some commenters to question why the work could not be put on hold until the Derby is over.
Hagerty later told The Times several factors went into choosing the September start date for the project, including securing proper permits, completing the project before summer 2021, and to meet a timeline set for the $1 million in state funding.
“It has to happen, and it’s going to take a good amount of time,” Hagerty said.