Brace Yourself: Fish Pier Deck Project Misses Deadline

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Infrastructure , Waterways

Health and Natural Resources Director Robert Duncanson (center) said progress remains slow.  ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

CHATHAM — Construction of the new observation deck at the fish pier has missed its latest deadline for completion.

The general contractor for the $1.6 million project, Sciaba Construction Corp., expected to have the job “substantially complete” by the end of January, Chief Financial Officer Michael Sheehan told The Chronicle last month.

At their regular progress inspection Monday, railings had yet to be installed on the north and south stairways, and the elevator had not yet arrived on site. Health and Natural Resources Director Robert Duncanson said work has yet to be completed on the fire suppression system, and the lighting under the deck and other electrical components had not been finished.

The town continues to assess penalties of $500 a day toward the contractor, as it has been doing since a previous deadline passed on Nov. 29.

“‘Substantial completion’ is supposed to be, theoretically, when the owner could use the work,” be it a building, a park or a deck, Duncanson said. “It’s clearly not ready for that.”

Having missed its original Memorial Day deadline last year, the project was pushed to Labor Day, following a summer that saw traffic jams, frustrated fishermen and throngs of confused visitors hoping to watch the activity at the fish pier. Town officials provided police and harbormaster staff to control traffic throughout the period. Town officials and those who work at the fish pier report that the contractor had very few employees working at any given time for much of that period. Work seemed to accelerate after the town and the contractor settled on an Oct. 16 deadline, but progress was not fast enough, and that "final" deadline was missed. A new Nov. 29 target date came and went, as well.

Town officials say that while the project has been repeatedly delayed, the quality of the construction appears to be excellent.