Bids For Old Mill Boatyard Project Exceed Available Funding

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Infrastructure , Boating , Stage Harbor

Coastal Resources Director Ted Keon, right, shows plans for improvements at Old Mill Boatyard to Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, center, and State Representative Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, during a tour of the facility last week. Bids for the project opened later in the week came in above avaiilable funding. TIM WOOD PHOTO

CHATHAM – Town officials will be reviewing plans to renovate and upgrade facilities at Old Mill Boatyard after bids for the project came in over budget.

The low bid for the work was $1,694,950, according to Coastal Resources Director Ted Keon. The cost of the project had been estimated at about $1.55 million.

“We obviously have to review where we go from here,” said Keon.

Last week, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito toured the Stage Harbor-front facility that's home to the harbormaster department, the town's shellfish upweller and the only public boat ramp on the town's south side. Polito is chair of the state's Seaport Economic Council, which awarded the project a $1 million grant late last year. The agency had previously awarded the town $102,750 for engineering designs and permitting, most of which has been spent, Keon said.

Over three separate fiscal years, the town has appropriated an additional $550,000 in construction funds for the project. Keon said the $1.55 construction estimate was consistent with the amount of funding available for the project, but also included some $85,000 in construction phase engineering. Factoring out the engineering, the estimate turned out to be more than $200,000 short of the low bid.

The low bidder was Harwich-based Robert B. Our Inc. There were two other bidders: Northern Construction Services of Weymouth at $1,768,940, and BTT Marine Construction Co. of Boston at $1,840,343.

The project involves replacing approximately 300 feet of failing wooden bulkhead on the water side of the parking lot at the facility, as well as replacing and enlarging piers and floats to make the town landing more functional for both commercial and recreational vessels. New intake and outflow pipes for the upwelling system are also included in the plans, as is a viewing platform and stairs to provide low tide access.

Upgrading the bulkhead is a high priority, Keon said. “It truly needs to be replaced,” he said. It's also the most expensive portion of the project, running about $1,000 per foot.

Some portions of the project are dependant on others, Keon said. Upgrading the upwelling system, which annually grows out millions of seed quahogs that supplement the town's natural shellfishery, depends on replacing the piers and floats.

Other aspects of the planned work are not as critical, such as the viewing platform and a washdown pad where fishermen can work on their boats. Those are all appropriate for the facility, Keon noted, but if something has to be cut out, “we have to focus on what needs to be done vs. what we'd like to have done.”

There should be enough time to work with the low bidder to determine how the work will proceed before construction is scheduled to begin in October, Keon said. There is a 30-day window to award the contract, and Our has indicated the price will be held for as long as 60 days. The contractor also didn't question the time frame for completing the project; the work must be done by next spring.

“It's not a complicated project,” Keon said, and all the necessary permits are already in place.

“Technically we're ready to go,” he said.

Keon said he anticipates developing options and determining how to proceed within the next few weeks.