Scituate’s Harborwalk is back on track and will be finished this month after a two-month delay caused by a dispute with National Grid and environmental concerns.
According to Scituate Harbormaster Mark Patterson, crews had been working industriously since early this summer on the harborwalk, which connects Cole Parkway to the beginning of Front Street and wraps around the harbor.
Most of the work was done by June, but ran into problems when National Grid wouldn't remove telephone poles that were placed in the middle of where the sidewalk was intended to go.
“We had three utility poles that were on the sidewalk in the middle of the walkway, and we were waiting for National Grid to come down and remove them, which happened a month ago,” Patterson said.
In addition, environmental concerns put a set back the construction.
According to Patterson, the contractor initially laid down stones for the sea wall outside of the design footprint. When Conservation Commission members came down to check on the progress, they noted the problem.
The contractor was put on hold while the engineer redesigned plans for the parkway. By the time that was complete, the contractor had to finish up another project before the walkway could be restarted.
“All of those things together resulted in a two-month delay, which ended about a month ago. Since then they’ve made some corrections on the revetment, laid some forms for the sidewalk, laid the brackets for the railing, and they are finishing up,” Patterson said. “By the end of this month, they expect to be completed.”
Although the project, which was completed mostly with $220,000 in Community Preservation Committee funding and through donations through sales of engraved bricks, has taken longer than anticipated to complete, Patterson said residents were mainly excited to use the part of the walkway that was finished.
Only approximately 50 feet of the 500-foot-long harborwalk had remained.
“What’s there now is pretty substantial,” Patterson said. “People have been using it and it’s gotten quite a lot of use. It doesn’t have a finished look -- there is a temp railing up and there are some spots that haven’t been completed…but people have been using it, it provides a great view of the harbor, and by and large, I think people will enjoy it.”
Patterson added, “I’ve been watching the progress since they remobilized and started work again, the crews have been out there every day. They gave us a schedule of what they would have done by certain dates and they’ve met those marks."
When the entire project is finished, people will see that it was all worth the wait, Patterson said.
“I think it’s an excellent use of CPC funds. It took a part of the harbor and will forever preserve it for open space and provides great recreational opportunities for people to bike and walk along the harbor,” Patterson said.
“With the interpretive signs that talk about the people and places around the harbor, it’s a good educational opportunity for people as well.”
The pathway will also additionally include benches, landscaping, and a designated entrance.
Long-term, town officials and residents hope to see the harborwalk connected to the other side of Front Street and all up along the Scituate coast.