The Steamship Authority board of governors Tuesday approved a $32 million contract with Colantonio, Inc. of Holliston to build the new ticket and utility buildings in Woods Hole, with construction to begin this fall.

A new terminal in the Falmouth village has been talked about going back about 10 years, and plans for the controversial ticket building were initially approved by the board in 2019. 

Falmouth board member Peter Jeffrey, who was appointed in 2022, abstained from voting on the contract, saying he felt the authority’s needs have changed since the original approval. 

Construction on other parts of the Woods Hole terminal have been ongoing. — Ray Ewing

“As my predecessors approved this design, I don’t think it would be right to stand in the way of this contract … but I also really don’t want to endorse the design as an individual,” he said.

Martha’s Vineyard board member James Malkin and Nantucket member Robert Ranney joined chair Robert Jones of Barnstable in voting for the contract. New Bedford member Moira Tierney was absent from the monthly board meeting Tuesday morning.

The 3-0-1 vote included one major change from plans that have been shared with the public: The building will be located 15 to 18 feet further east than previously approved, with two bus lanes instead of three on the east side and a planned curbing removed on the west side.

Director of shoreside operations Alison Fletcher proposed the changes after a meeting with terminal agents in Woods Hole on Monday, general manager Robert Davis said.

The change will provide a wider turning radius for trucks and buses passing the terminal, without changing the terms of the construction bid, Mr. Davis said.

The $32 million Colantonio contract also includes building a nearby two-story utility and storage building. Together they represent the final phase of the Steamship Authority’s sweeping Woods Hole terminal construction project, which began in 2018 after years of planning.

The terminal has also been lifted several feet above its previous level, to accommodate rising seas.

A two-story stone ticket building was originally proposed by BIA Studio, the architecture firm overseeing the entire project, but was roundly opposed by Falmouth residents and others who said it would block too much of the water view.

The one-story design shifts the building’s bulky utility infrastructure and storage to the separate utility building.

Colantonio, Inc. was one of two bidders for the project, out of five construction companies that initially expressed interest, Mr. Davis said Tuesday.

Editor's note: this article has been updated to include more information about the utility building included in the project.