Updated 8 pm
The sound of jackhammers filled the morning air on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven Monday morning as newly poured sidewalks were being ripped up and discarded. A large excavator picked up pieces of sidewalk and dumped them into waiting dump trucks.
A contractor at the scene said the town wanted a different finish on the sidewalks. “It happens,” he said.
Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande confirmed that the sidewalks were not done to specifications. “MassDOT informed me that the contractor will remove the sidewalk and do it again, since they did not finish the recent concrete sidewalks correctly,” he wrote in an email. “The town’s specification was put into the Contract Special Provisions for the project.”
Later, Kirk Metell, the town’s DPW director, wrote to say the sidewalks were intended to match the sidewalks on Center Street and Norton Avenue, which are 1½ inch exposed aggregate concrete mix. Those sidewalks show pebbles in the concrete and are darker. Metell described the tint as a “much more natural product.”
The recipe for the town mixture includes 1½-inch native stone, Goodales native sand, and ⅜-inch native stone, among other ingredients, according to Metell.
In an email to The Times, Judith Reardon Riley said the contractor will absorb the cost of the change. “The sidewalk was installed using MassDOT standards, in regard to finishing specifications and materials,” she wrote. “Working with the town of Tisbury, during the design phases, it was agreed to construct the sidewalk using town of Tisbury specifications. The cost of the sidewalk removal and replacement, which is approximately $4,000, is the responsibility of the contractor, and will be addressed through a corrective action.”
When The Times questioned that amount, Reardon Riley responded by email saying that an error had been made. “The contract price for the sidewalk is approximately $50,000 and includes removal of the old sidewalk and installation of the final permanent sidewalk,” she wrote. “This cost will be borne by the contractor, not by the commonwealth.”
The ongoing project has made getting to and from the Island’s only year-round ferry terminal a challenge.
Updated with a correction by MassDOT on the price of the replacement sidewalk. -Ed.