Bidding begins for seawall repairs
Repairs on the East Ferry seawall, a centerpiece of the downtown waterfront, are picking up steam, Police Chief Ed Mello told the Harbor Commission at its Aug. 8 meeting.
Last week, the Public Works Department went out to bid for the project, Mello said. The Town Council previously authorized the bidding, stipulating the amount was not to exceed $500,000. The project was advertised on Aug. 7, according to Mello, who also serves as the commission’s executive director.
According to the specifications, which were published in the Providence Journal’s classified pages, qualified bidders have until 10 a.m. on Aug. 28 to submit a sealed proposal. To be qualified, contractors must provide “written evidence” of at last five years construction experience on projects similar with respect to size and scope.
After the 10 a.m. deadline, the bids will be opened and read. If town officials decide to award the contract, the first shovels could be in the dirt as early as Sept 27. However, the lowest bidder is not automatically guaranteed the contract.
On Aug. 16, Jamestown officials were expected to hold a site tour and a pre-bid conference at Town Hall.
The seawall repairs are being financed by the town and Harbor Commission on a 50-50 basis, according to a decision that the Town Council made earlier.
Although the seawall is by far the biggest improvement planned for the waterfront, East Ferry is not the only project in the works, according to Commissioner Larry Eichler.
Eichler said the commissioners also want to go out to bid on two other small maintenance projects – to replace and repair outhauls at Fort Getty and West Ferry – and he notified Town Engineer Mike Gray that commissioners want the paperwork finished and the bids evaluated in time to start work in October.
“We wanted to get it out to bid so come Oct. 1, when the season’s over, we can jump in,” Eichler said. “We really want to get moving forward with those two projects.”
Gray said he had been focusing on preparing documents for the East Ferry seawall contract, but once that project was advertised, he would start on the outhauls with “fall/winter construction” in mind.
The commissioners had anticipated relocating the Fort Getty outhauls to a location south of the pier, but Harbormaster Sam Paterson pointed out a problem with the currents south of the pier, especially at the full-moon high tide.
“You do have one hell of a current going through there,” he said. Paterson suggested the east side of the pier might be the optimal spot for the outhauls and dolphins.
The commissioners decided to take a field trip to assess the currents a couple of hours after high tide, at Chairman Mike de Angeli’s suggestion.
Mello asked to be included in the field trip and then said that Gray “feels he’s getting pulled in a lot of different directions. One day he’s working on a floating dock; the next day he’s not.” Mello was referring to a debate about installing floats by the pier and boat ramp at Fort Getty. Gray did not attend the harbor meeting and was not reached for comment.
According to an email exchange that was included in the meeting packet between Gray and Eichler, there was some confusion about which jobs the Harbor Commission had approved.
Mello wanted to verify the commission did want to go ahead with the repairs on the West Ferry outhauls, and not deal strictly with the Fort Getty outhauls.
Eichler and de Angeli confi rmed the Harbor Commission had indeed approved both projects. Eichler asked Gray on Aug. 2 for an update on the status of the two outhaul projects, and on any necessary approvals from the Coastal Resources Management Council. He also alerted Gray to some problems with the new wall at West Ferry where a sinkhole had opened. Eichler wanted some improvements made to the steps at the West Ferry outhauls where someone recently fell.
Gray said the step was already fixed and promised to look at the West Ferry wall, but he asked for clarification about the status of plans to install floats by the ramp and the pier at Fort Getty.
“I believe there are people going in different directions specifically at Fort Getty,” Gray said in his email. ”I know of two people who met with CRMC and it would be nice to understand what was said with respect to permitting.”
Mello said he thought Gray was looking for “one voice” from the Harbor Commission about the projects. de Angeli pointed out any plan to install floating docks would need CRMC approval and were “not on the table.” He reiterated the fact the panel has already approved the work on the outhauls at West Ferry and Fort Getty.
In other business, Mello said the harbor office has finished replacing defective buoys in the West Passage entrance, so that all the navigational aids there now meet Coast Guard regulations.
The Coast Guard in a June 4 letter had notified Jamestown about a problem with the buoys. Chief Petty Officer Gregg Marsili asked for a response within two weeks to correct the issues discovered during a recent Coast Guard inspection.
Marsili said the Coast Guard inspected the area near Dutch Island and found two substandard buoys. According to Marsili, sailors would not be able to read the numbers on the buoys because Dutch Island Harbor Buoy 1 was “partially submerged” and its numbers were missing or partially missing. Dutch Island Harbor Buoy 2 also was substandard for the same reasons, and its color was faded.