CHATHAM – Labor Day has passed, and to no one's surprise, the fish pier observation deck is not finished.
But with a few critical issues solved in recent weeks, the project should begin to move along much faster, said Natural Resources Director Robert Duncanson.
General contractor Sciaba Construction Corp. has installed two “infinity drains” on the south side of the deck. In order to make the deck water tight, so that water does not drip onto the fish processing floor below, special drains that fit flush with the surface are being installed which will collect runoff and discharge it into the harbor. Now that two of the four infinity drains have been installed, installation of decking will move along more quickly, “at least visually,” Duncanson said.
Several issues regarding the elevator that will be installed on the north side of the deck related to grade and slope were also resolved, he said.
“Hopefully people will see more things happening over the next couple of weeks,” said Duncanson.
Labor Day was the latest in a number of completion dates set for the $1.4 million observation deck, which replaces an older deck that was unsafe. Work on the project, which also included replacing underground fuel tanks and lines, began in March and was due to be completed by Memorial Day. That didn't happen, and subsequent deadlines also were not met. Various reasons have been given for the delay by both the town and the contractor, including a number of change orders requested by the town and a lack of workers on the site.
Oct. 16 has been set as the new target date for completion. Duncanson said progress made “behind the scenes,” including arrival of prefabricated sections of the deck, will hopefully make that date realistic.
The observation deck is one of the town's most popular tourist attractions, drawing thousands daily during the summer to watch fishermen offload boats and seals frolic in the harbor waters. Because of the construction work, visitors have been crowded into a small area on the north jog, and the town has had to pay for police details to control traffic every day this summer.