“We need this tomorrow,” fisherman and Aunt Lydia's Cove Committee member Jim Nash told the waterways advisory committee last week, according to a recent Cape Cod Chronicle article. With uncertainty about future access to Chatham Harbor due to the quickly evolving barrier beach, upgrading the trap dock has become a priority.
To accomplish this, the Town of Chatham has hired Coastal Engineering to provide initial site engineering and conceptual design services for rehabilitation of the Town-owned commercial timber pier, along with the adjacent privately-owned pier located in Stage Harbor. In order to have a full understanding of the best option for reconstruction, Coastal Engineering has performed an assessment of the existing condition of the two interconnected timber piers and underlying concrete sea wall. Both were found in poor condition and have reached the end of their useful life.
Coastal Engineering developed recommendations to replace the deteriorated structures and improve facility operations, as well as evaluated the use of alternative construction materials to improve infrastructure durability and reduce future maintenance requirements. The proposed plan would basically renovate the entire site. The current building on the trap dock property would be removed and a new elevated concrete platform built, where trucks could back up to take on fish. It would stretch the width of the narrow parcel and out to a new bulkhead. The existing docks would be replaced by a concrete deck supported by steel or fiberglass pilings. All would be at the same elevation. An area between the yacht club and town decks could be filled in with an additional deck. The plans also show several possible configurations for a floating dock off the concrete decks. Several hoists are also included to assist fishermen with offloading their catch.
Nash said fishermen would prefer keeping plans relatively simple. “If we can have a platform that you can just unload, that's durable, that can take one truck at a time, with a ramp at the end, that would suffice,” he said. “It would be a thousand percent better than what we have now.” The five-year waterfront facility capital plan estimated the trap dock project at $2 million. It would be funded by the $11.3 million waterfront infrastructure borrowing authority approved by voters last year. Ted Keon, Town of Chatham Coastal Resources Director, said the town also plans to seek a state Seaport Economic Council grant for the work.
Coastal Engineering will now bring the plans to the permitting stage. The piers are located in a wetland/waterways resource area that is subject to extensive regulatory review, including the Chatham Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection, Waterways Division, DEP Water Quality, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Chatham Planning Board. Approval from these agencies will be required prior to construction.