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Coastal Engineering Company of Orleans Cape Cod
May 06, 2020

Construction to Begin on Pilgrim Monument Elevator

Construction is expected to start next month on the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum’s inclined elevator, which will shuttle people from Bradford Street up High Pole Hill to the monument.

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Robert B. Our, the project’s general contractor, is set to begin testing on the site next week, with construction slated to begin the week of May 18. The project is expected to be completed by early 2021.

“It’s really a pinch-me moment,” said K. David Weidner, the museum’s executive director.

Called the “Bradford Access Project,” the elevator will start near the Bas Relief off Bradford Street and run up the hill to the foot of the monument. Officials at the museum have said this will be a way to connect the monument to the rest of the town.

The elevator is planned to be built on land that is already owned by the museum, and the project is being funded privately. The museum announced Monday it started a partnership with the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, which included a $4.5 million loan for the elevator.

“The Bradford Access Project will create deep connections,” Weidner said. “It represents some of the key ideals and values that have proudly become synonymous with Provincetown: All are welcome. Everyone is included.”

The project is better known in town as the funicular, which, although more fun to say, isn’t technically correct, Weidner said. The elevator uses a cab on a cable system to shepherd a handful of people up and down the hill. A funicular has a conductor to operate the trips.

The elevator will be automated, much like a regular elevator, only this one will be outside. The ride up the hill will take about two minutes and offer views over the town.

There have been objections from the community, including a lawsuit by a neighboring condo trust. But the museum has said it envisions the project as a way to connect the monument, which despite its prominence over town can be hard to get to for some newcomers, to the heart of the downtown.

“The inclined elevator will improve physical access from PMPM to Bradford Street and Commercial Street,” the museum wrote on its website. “It will provide a safe and simple way to get to the streets that will connect visitors with the shops, restaurants, wharf areas, Town Hall and other important landmarks in Provincetown.”

The museum originally hoped to have the elevator in motion this year to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in Provincetown, but that timeline was already in question before the coronavirus outbreak largely halted construction.

The museum has been working out how to safely conduct construction efforts with the ongoing pandemic over the past month, and said the elevator should be up and running by next year, though the health crisis could delay that.

The news about the start of Bradford Access Project construction was reported by the Associated Press, one of the largest news agencies in the world. Their article was picked up a myriad of outlets, including U.S. News and World Report, NBC Boston, NECN and the print edition of Sunday's Boston Globe. This is in addition to local coverage in the Provincetown Banner, Provincetown Independent, the Cape Cod Times, and Cape & Plymouth Business. Project communications firm is Athena-Metis.