SALEM — The state’s Seaport Advisory Council has approved $4 million to build an extension to the Salem Wharf and to complete most of the planned improvements at the Blaney Street landing.
The funds will be used for a number of projects, including renovations to the coal ship dock at Salem Harbor Station, which the city plans to use for cruise ships, and construction of a harborwalk around the Blaney Street site.
“This is transformational,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll, who sits on the state council that oversees harbor improvements. “We’re really grateful to the governor and former lieutenant governor who have really made investing in our port a priority.
“Eight years ago, we didn’t (own) a ferry, we didn’t own the land and we didn’t have a pier. And in that time period, we’ve been able to transform something that was on the drawing board and make it a reality.”
The Salem Wharf at the Blaney Street landing, currently the dock for the Salem Ferry, will also be used by commercial boats, cruise ships and other vessels. At present, it also has an interim ferry terminal and patio.
This latest grant will allow the city to construct a 140-foot extension to the 260-foot Salem Wharf, which was completed this year. Eventually, as the final piece of the pier project, a T-shaped extension will be added to what will then be a steel and concrete pier projecting 400 feet into the harbor.
As part of this project, a “wave fence” will be constructed under the pier to protect commercial boats and other users of the city wharf.
The coal dock, an 800-foot, deep-water pier owned by Footprint Power, will be made “pedestrian friendly” and also accessible to the disabled, according to Kathy Winn, deputy director of the Planning Department.