Dredges to Return in 2013 to Finish Incomplete Job
A project to deepen lagoons and channels on the bay side between 15th and 34th streets was not completed by the Jan. 1 deadline.
The city administration confirmed Thursday what many bayside property owners suspected all along: The company hired to deepen bayside lagoons between 15th and 34th streets could not complete its work in time to meet its Dec. 31 deadline.
An extremely narrow and shallow channel is the only break in the mud flats at low tide near the lagoons at 16th and 17th streets.
The project was scheduled to start in the summer, but delays in preparing the spoils site prevented the company from starting until late September. The environmental permit expired on Nov. 30 but was later extended through the end of the calendar year.
Ocean City Business Administrator Mike Dattilo reported to City Council on Thursday that the delay in preparing the spoils site (in the marshes near 34th Street) was one of the factors in the failure to complete the job on time. But he also said extended mechanical breakdowns contributed to the delay. The loss of a few days surrounding Superstorm Sandy were a minor factor, he said.
Dattilo said the company will be required to return to finish the job at no additional cost to the city.
City Council in May awarded a $1.8 million contract to Hydro-Marine Construction Company of Hainesport, NJ, which had submitted the lowest of three competitive bids.
The project includes dredging in an area between 16th Street and 34th Street, including substantial parts of:
- Carnival Bayou Lagoon: Between 16th and 17th streets (the dredging in this area would include part of the bayfront heading toward 15th Street)
- Venetian Bayou Lagoon: Between 17th and 18th streets
- Sunny Harbor Lagoon: Between Arkansas and Walnut
- South Harbor Lagoon: Between Spruce and Tennessee
- Clubhouse/Bluefish Lagoon: Between Waterway Road and Clubhouse Drive
The areas were to be dredged to a minimum depth of four feet (at low water) and average of five feet — with some spots six feet deep. The lagoons had been impassable to boat traffic anywhere near low tide.
The dredging company did not finish work at Carnival Bayou Lagoon or at parts of Venetian Bayou Lagoon and Clubhouse Lagoon.
Because of environmental concerns (including protecting habitat for winter fish), the state environmental permit does not allow work to begin again until June 1.
"I want them to be ready at 12:01 a.m. June 1 to turn the switch on," Third Ward Councilman Tony Wilson said. "I want to work with the administration to get the job done right."
Wilson represents the property owners on most of the lagoons in the project area. He said he hopes to see work start at 15th Street — the point farthest from the spoils site — and proceed south, with crews shortening the spoils pipeline as they continue work.
Dattilo said the city will seek a permit extension to allow work to begin earlier than June 1.
Along with $194,634 in planning costs paid to Duffield Associates, the project totals about $2 million. The city has yet to request bids for a separate project to dredge Snug Harbor and Glen Cove in 2013. While dredges are removing sand from the bay in 2013, a separate project will add sand to beaches on the north end and downtown beaches.