EASTHAM — The project to repave the parking lot and replace the boat ramp at Rock Harbor is not going to be done until June 30, according to Doug Cameron, acting director and deputy chief engineer of the Mass. Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA), who says the engineering challenge of keeping water out of the construction area is to blame.
The first phase of a town project to install new floats and docks was completed at Rock Harbor in 2019. Because the parking lot is owned by the commonwealth, the current project to repave the parking lot and replace the boat ramp is being done by the FBA.
Construction for this phase started in March and was expected to be complete by June 1. Cameron said originally the design involved building a steel-shield cofferdam around the boat ramp to keep the water out of the area during construction.
The crew hit problems with this “dewatering” process, he said. “We found that we weren’t able to keep the water from coming into the cofferdam and tried some other options,” Cameron said.
They even drilled the dams to a depth of 85 feet, but the area was filled with muck and they still were not able to stop the entry of water.
Now, the contractor will have precast concrete panels manufactured and delivered to the site.
“Those will be formed and poured in a precast facility and then installed without having to dewater,” Cameron said. It’s the method that was used with the Plymouth Harbor boat ramp in 2016.
The new expected completion date is June 30. Local boaters have expressed concern that the construction will not be completed by that date. If construction stretches further into summer, then boaters may not be able to launch their boats from the Eastham side of Rock Harbor or be able to use the parking lot at all.
The contractor for the project is Biszko Building Systems of Fall River. Michael Biszko did not respond to phone and email messages for this article, but Cameron said last week that Biszko was in the process of getting price quotes and fabrication samples for the panels.
“We’re in a limbo state right now,” Cameron said. “My hope is it will be done by June 30, but that revolves around the schedule of the precast companies,” he said.
Cameron said he does not expect this project to be halted by the coronavirus. “It would appear that we’d be able to do it,” he said.