Barnstable Bulkhead Repairs to be Completed in Spring

boatsBARNSTABLE VILLAGE – Barnstable Town Manager Thomas Lynch says the Barnstable Harbor bulkhead should be repaired in full by the next boating season in the spring after major problems were discovered in the newly completed bulkhead.

The Friends of Barnstable Harbor gave this report on the status of the bulkhead after the problems were discovered.

“A year ago structural weaknesses were detected in the newly replace bulkhead.  It was immediately noted that bolts were missing. Through excavation, borings and other tests, it was discovered that the washers holding the rods had been flattened and were coming through the beam. The design called for 3/4″ washers. However, 3/8″ washers were installed,” the organization wrote in their monthly blog.

Lynch confirmed the issue with the bolts and said that the contractor has taken full responsibility and will pay for the repairs, sparing tax payers any expense.

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Repair is happening none too soon according to the Friends group. They wrote, “Due to significant external water pressure in this area, the bulkhead is bowing seaward.  There is significant failure all along the east bulkhead. There is no guarantee that there won’t be a catastrophic failure – this is being immediately addressed.”

The Friends group reported that the design engineering firm (formerly Vine Associates- now GZA) has taken full responsibility for failure, nevertheless, anticipate the parking lot looking a lot like it did 3 years ago while the bulkhead is re-fitted with 1″ washers.

The state paid more than $3.7 million toward the new bulkhead in 2012, about 75 percent of the cost of the $5 million project.

Barnstable Inner Harbor is one of the busiest harbors on the Bay side of Cape Cod, according to the town’s Department of Public Works. It provides space to over 502 commercial and recreational vessels and other marine-related activities including a 392-passenger whale-watching vessel. The harbor employs 189 people in a variety of professions, both full and part time, and generates an estimated 8 million dollars in economic activity.