By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - Crews will begin preparing February 27th, for a project designed to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake on South Lake Park Blvd. The goal is to make the lake deeper and improve capacity to hold stormwater runoff that has traditionally caused flooding of surrounding properties and roadways.
The Carolina Beach Town Council awarded a bid to Civil Works Contracting in the amount of $2,766,338 during their January 10th, meeting to dredge the lake.
At the time the Council was told the project would be split into two phases. The first phase would begin in February and continue through May 30th. At that point the project would stop for the summer and then begin again on October 1st and be completed over five months.
Town Manager Michael Cramer informed the Council earlier this week that work will now continue through the summer months without pause in order to reduce the cost of mobilization of equipment, materials and personnel. A barge with dredge equipment will be placed in the lake. The Town estimates that around 1,000 truck loads of material will be transferred to the Wastewater Treatment Plant during the 12 month project.
Cramer explained he attended a preconstruction meeting with the contractor on Monday February 13th and the contractor anticipates starting construction of berms on February 27th at the Town's Wastewater Treatment Plant off Dow Road that will hold the mud dredged from the lake. He said the contractor anticipates it will take two weeks to build the berms, temporary access road and erosion control systems.
Cramer explained to the Town Council via email on February 13th, "Beginning on February 27th they intend on preparing the parking lot at the Lake to serve as the transfer zone for material from the barge to the trucks. The Lake Parking Lot will be closed from February 27th until the completion of the project. Dredging is anticipated to start on March 6th and they will operate from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday – Saturday. The Lake walking trail will be closed from west of the playground to 3rd street for the length of the project and other access points may be closed off as the project continues."
He explained, "Between March and May we will evaluate the progress of the project, including the work hours, days of the week and noise issues related to the project. We will be reviewing the Saturday work schedule following the first Farmers Market and determine if work must stop on Saturdays. If all goes well we would like to allow the contractors to continue dredging through the summer. The dredging will be performed from a barge in the lake and we will not be reducing the water in the lake during the dredging. We are hopeful that this will limit the smell from the dredge material. If the contractor can continue dredging through the summer we anticipate that 75% of the dredging will be complete before the fall, when we typically get the most rains and tropical storms. If all goes well we are hoping to have the entire Lake dredged by February next year. Allowing the continual dredging to take place from February to February will reduce the remobilization costs needed if we stop during the summer and will allow the contractors to complete the project in 12 months instead of 18 +."
He explained, "We intend on producing a press release for the media, send letters to residents and hang door hangers on all door adjacent to the lake. We will be installing a large message board sign at the entrance to Lake Park indicating that the parking lot is closed. Please let me know if you have any concerns with the course of the project."
Awarding The Contract at January Meeting:
During the Council's January meeting, Project Manager Jerry Haire explained, "We went out to bid three times on this project since the end of October. We had a bit of a problem getting some bids."
The Town advertised for bids on October 30th. A "bid-opening" was held November 28th and no bids were received. The project was re-bid on November 30th. On December 8th, due to issues concerning the bid bonds to insure the work would be completed, the Town was required to go back out to solicit bids a third time. The Town held another bid-opening on January 5th.
Haire explained, "The lowest responsive bidder was Civil Works Contracting with a bid of $2,766,338. The recommendation at this time is... awarding the contract to the lowest responsive bidder subject to the Town Manager's ability to negotiate with the bidder to make reasonable and non-substantial changes in the plans and specs as maybe necessary to perform the work at the negotiated price and funds available."
Councilman Gary Doetsch said, "It appears that Carolina Marine Construction came in at $2,225,000 so that's the lowest. Was there something that steered you towards" Civil Works.
Haire said, "You are required to submit a bid bond with the application packet. They submitted a letter of credit which is not allowed by the statutes."
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth asked how long it would take to begin work on the project.
Haire said, "We are hoping to get started in the next 30 days if we get mobilized. We are going to break the project into two phases so we are not working in the summer time. If we get started in February we will work through May 30th. That will involve taking the entire parking and park area out of commission... We will go to May 30th and then stop for the summer. Put everything back in. All of the playground equipment. All of the parking will go back in. Start back up again on October the 1st and then work through probably another five months. It's about a seven month project."
Haire said, "83,000 cubic yards of material has to come out of there. It's about 1,000 truck loads. It's all going back to the waste water treatment plant," off Dow Road, "so it's going to be a time consuming project. Should be done by next January."
He explained, "The idea is we get a barge out there with a clamshell loader, excavate it, put it on another barge, haul it back and it will all go into water proof, water lined trucks to haul it back to the wastewater treatment plant."
He said some of the dredge material will be "de-watered" or drained before it's placed in the trucks.
New playground equipment will be installed after the project is completed next year.
Mayor Dan Wilcox said, "I know you guys are sensitive to the fact and part of the schedule has to do with we have a lot of events down at the lake so you are working with staff and making sure that if there is an event that is scheduled during a construction period that we can give them adequate time and notice because most of those events are planned a year ahead of time."
Haire said most events held at the lake are during the summer months and, "For the spring session there were three events that we accounted for in the contract documents."
Council member Leann Pierce asked, "Did you contact the low bidder and discuss the bonding requirements with him because I see $500,000 difference between the low bidder and the second bidder."
Haire said, "We did and it's a smaller company and it's a $2 million dollar project and they just didn't have the wherewithal to come up" the bond.
Shuttleworth said, "That's the second time the same entity wasn't able to meet the bid requirements. Is that correct?"
Town Manager Michael Cramer said, "Yes. That is correct."
Shuttleworth said, "We did reach out to them and we worked what we could."
Pierce said, "I asked that question because I see them in the back of the room and I just want them to know that we need them to know we want you to bid but we have to meet these certain requirements."
The Council voted unanimously to award the contract to Civil Works Contracting.
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