Six months after breaking ground, the city’s new Harborwalk, slated to be opened to welcome visitors at the start of the summer, remains unfinished.
But city officials said Thursday they’ll have the loose ends of the 1.2 mile walkway wrapped up over the next two weeks.
While much of the Rogers Street harbor walk is open for use, workers are still finishing the boardwalk ramp at the city-owned I-4, C-2, lot and patching up some of the landscaping along the way. The lions share of the work, said Public Works Director Mike Hale, is done.
The project, said Public Works Director Mike Hale, has covered more than the initial $1.2 million scope as well, including pouring new sidewalks in on parts of Rogers Street. But officials could not provide new cost numbers indicating how much more as of Thursday afternoon. Harbor Planning Director Sarah Garcia and Mayor Carolyn Kirk did not return several calls seeking comment on this story.
Hale said he isn’t concerned that the walk missed the initial deadline. With a project like the Harborwalk, he said, a delay of around six weeks isn’t an issue.
“Everyone hoped for June, but the fact that we didn’t meet the estimated date isn’t alarming to me,” Hale said. “I want to make sure it’s something people can use, and use with some pride.”
The city broke ground for the harbor walk in mid February after three years of planning. The 1.2 mile walk starts at St. Peter’s Square by the Cape Ann Brewing Company and Latitude 43 and heads along Rogers Street toward The Gloucester House. It then moves through the Gus Foote Park across the front of the Gloucester House and onto a boardwalk at the I-4, C-2, lot. The walk finishes at the Fitz Henry Lane house at Harbor Loop.
The Harborwalk consists of city sidewalk, a porous silver-green asphalt, and boardwalk.
The project has also scattered over 40 granite posts across the downtown. Each of those posts will each contain a snippet of Gloucester history. Hale said he expects those to be finished in the next two weeks as well.
The contractor, Tasco, worked in pockets over the winter, said Hale. The construction kicked up when the weather got warmer but slowed during several weeks of rain in May. Hale said Public Works halted the work during Fiesta week and the fourth of July. The company, Hale said, has employed local contractors as subcontractors for carpentry and masonry.
Work, he said, hung up on the boardwalk ramp at the I-4, C-2 lot. When crews dug to put pilings down for the ramp, Hale said they found that traditional pilings wouldn’t work. Public Works had the ramp engineered again, this time using helix pilings, with a screw like footing. As of Thursday, however, that boardwalk wasn’t complete.
Tasco’s vendor for the asphalt, Hale said, is coming back to examine the pavement. It hasn’t held up like the city wanted it to in places where cars drive over it.
“There have been a few places where the porous asphalt on the harborwalk hasn’t preformed as we’ll as we’d like,” Hale said.
Putting in that asphalt along with pouring new Rogers Street sidewalks removed a chunk of the Rogers Street Parking meters. Hale said the footings for Gloucester’s new parking kiosk machines have been set. He expects those machines to come within the next two weeks.
The walk, he said, is something the city should take pride in. The project, Hale said, has improved the Fitz Henry Lane Park, and sidewalks on Rogers Street.
“The city should be proud of what’s been done in that park and the improvements on the sidewalks along Rogers Street,” said Hale.
Steven Fletcher can be reached at 978-238-7000, x3455, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.