CHATHAM – Nearly 18 months after construction started, the new fish pier observation deck finally opened to the public Thursday.
A few visitors were watching fishing boats unload and seals swimming in Aunt Lydia's Cove from the new, spacious deck. A board of health order mandates that face masks be worn on the observation deck from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Construction of the $1.7 million deck began in January 2019 and was supposed to be completed five months later, in time for Memorial Day. General contractor Sciaba Construction often had only a few workers on site at any given time, and town officials grew frustrated as the work dragged on, eventually the assessing the contractor $38,500 in liquidated damages because of the delays.
The elevator required to meet accessibility regulations remains closed, awaiting state inspection.
The fish pier is one of the town's most popular tourist attractions, attracting as many as 3,000 people a day. The reconstructed deck has a larger viewing area, wider stairs and a second emergency access. To provide a barrier-free workspace on the offloading dock beneath, the deck is freestanding and water tight to protect the seafood processing operation. It is constructed of composite material to reduce maintenance. The project also included replacement of underground fuel storage tanks and a new fuel dispensing system.
An expanded version of this story will appear in the July 9 edition of The Chronicle.