Vineyard Haven slip construction over budget 

Construction underway at the Vineyard Haven slip number two on Tuesday morning. —Eunki Seonwoo

The Steamship Authority (SSA) pier replacement project for one of its Vineyard Haven slips should be wrapped up by the beginning of May, but they are running over budget. 

Change orders for the project added up to $69,240. That includes $42,240 for the removal and reinstallation of the ramp, counterweights, and gallows, $18,000 to mobilize a material barge to store the ramp, as well as a $9,000 monthly cost for the barge. 

During a Tuesday morning SSA board meeting, SSA COO Mark Higgins pointed to the barge as a major contributor to the cost increase. 

“After doing some analysis with our engineering team, we thought it would be safer and more effective to do it by barge,” he said. 

The “grand total” of the slip replacement project is now $625,764. The SSA had entered into a contract with Coastal Marine Construction of Stoughton in January for $556,524 for the project. 

While the project was supposed to start in February, logistical issues and delays in getting cranes on-Island to dismantle the transfer bridge pushed back the replacement until March. The project was expected to take 39 days from start to finish. 

The 5:30 am ferry out of Vineyard Haven has been eliminated during construction, and the project has also been causing delays to ferries. 

“The plan is to get the bridge back into place early on the week of May 5,” Higgins said. 

In the meantime, the SSA will be opening up the Oak Bluffs slip next week, which will take off some of the load from Vineyard Haven. 

Meanwhile, the new SSA freight ferries — the Aquinnah in July and the Barnstable in June — are still on schedule. But there will be change orders of $143,269 per vessel for their conversion work done by Alabama Shipyard. The SSA had engineered a new air intake & exhaust system for the auxiliary engines spaces, which replaced the initial design. 

However, the SSA is also expecting to save $300,000 with the elimination of some bulkheads on the vessels.


  1. Has there ever been a project Robert Brown is involved in been ON BUDGET or ON TIME ???????
    How many Island projects come in on budget and time.
    When will Robert Brown step up and and run the the SSA on budget and on time.
    The joy of constant complaining, and not doing.

    • Albert– Not a cool comment. I am sure if every time
      you criticized someone or some entity people came
      back at you with a personal retort like your’s to Mr.Brown
      you would not be happy about it.

      • Mr. Brown is a constant complainer about the SSA.
        His comments are not cool, more like tiresome.
        Andy and Jackie are obliviously not happy with your retorts.
        Should you change your style?
        Are you here to to see happy retorts?
        Would a happy retort have been, Mr. Brown you are absolutely right, the SSA is nothing but a bunch of bums ripping off Islanders.

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