A winter full of storms has brought erosion to almost every corner of the Island — including the small Chappy ferry ramp, which will undergo repairs in April.
The ferry will be closed to car traffic for part of the day April 6 for ramp repairs on the Edgartown side, ferry captain Peter Wells told the conservation commission Monday. The commission unanimously voted to approve the emergency work.
After the most recent storm, Mr. Wells said, cracks emerged in the pavement adjacent to the ferry ramp. Upon further investigation, he wrote in an email to the Gazette, “a void was discovered beneath a retaining wall that holds back Dock street and supports the hinge of the ferry ramp.” Water scoured away the sand that used to hold a wooden bulkhead in place, he said, which in turn protected the base of the retaining wall.
The fix will involve injecting concrete under the retaining wall to replace the lost sand, he said, and adding more stones in front of the retaining wall to protect it from wave action.
“If we’re going to be hauling a lot of heavy stuff, we kind of want to get this fixed,” Mr. Wells told the conservation commission, referring to work on the Schifter house on Chappaquiddick. The area is still safe, he said. “Right now it’s pretty stable. I’d just like to get this fixed before it gets any worse.”
Because planking from the ramp will have to be removed to access the concrete and stones being placed, vehicles won’t be able to be loaded onto the ferry during the repairs. Mr. Wells said work will start early to get everything done in one day: regular ferry service will take place from 6 a.m. to 6:45 a.m., and after that the ferry will be foot-traffic only. Passenger trips will take place on the quarter-hour and will go between the Chappaquiddick slip and the south corner of Memorial Wharf.
Work will likely be completed by mid-afternoon, Mr. Wells said, though the concrete needs to set. Updates about ferry operation can be found at chappyferry.net or at the Chappy ferry hotline, 508-627-6965.
The town has also set up a Chappy text notification program, he said, to alert residents to changes in ferry service. To sign up, text the word “Chappy” to 69302.