By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council received an update during their March 14th, meeting on a project getting underway to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake.
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.
The goal is to make the lake deeper to a consistent depth of 6' feet and improve capacity to hold storm water runoff that has traditionally caused flooding of surrounding properties and roadways.
Gil DuBois - Director of Operations - explained to the Council Tuesday night that two areas where the dredge material will be stored off Dow Road at the Town's Waste Water Treatment Plant have been completed. He said, "The dredging contractor is also Civil Works and they actually started staging some material around the lake today. They will be physically starting their excavation of the lake on Monday [March] 27th. From now to then we will be doing site preparation. We will be putting up some fences and signs so basically nobody will be inside their specific construction area."
DuBois said the construction area will be across from the Hang Ten Grill on Atlanta Avenue in the area of the parking lot at the lake.
He said, "That's going to be the first point of unloading the barges and hauling stuff out."
DuBois said they will evaluate the project for a couple of months and decide whether to request Town Manager Michael Cramer seek permission from the Council to allow the contractor to work through the summer months.
DuBois said actual dredging of the lake will begin on the east end of the lake near South Lake Park Blvd. The contractor will operate in an area at the parking lot accessed from Atlanta Avenue. He added, "But the play ground, the restrooms and the area where we have most of our festivities at will not be disturbed. They are actually going to put up a functional safety fence up to prevent anybody from being inside the load-out area."
The original plan split the project 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.
Now the plan is to permit the contractor to work non-stop throughout the summer.
DuBois explained the contractor, "Actually came to us and asked if they could possibly continue to work once it started. As we looked at the schedule we really had not considered the 60-days that the Carolina Beach Elementary School is out during the summer."
The elementary school is located on 4th Street across from an entrance to the Lake Park at the intersection of 4th Street and Clarendon Avenue.
DuBois explained, "One of their major load-out points on the west side of the lake is there at the lake and Clarendon Avenue. So again, if we can continue that particular schedule and try to get maximum utilization of the time period that the school is out for the summer break and not have to deal with the stopping and starting with the buses, the students, the teachers and the traffic, I think it would expedite that program."
Mayor Dan Wilcox said, "The reason I asked Gil to address that is that earlier on a few meetings ago we had talked about this and the manager and council expressed the fact that we were going to suspend those activities during the summer months. And it just turns out that the logistics of it all and the cost factor have kind of fallen into a place where we think it is wise on behalf of the town and the citizens to continue with the schedule Gill talks about. Not only will it save us, I think $150,000, the impact to anything going on at the lake of any significance will be minimal or nonexistent."
He explained, "Just wanted everybody to know that we had made some statements earlier and after looking at the project and the best way to approach it. That's been adjusted."
Cramer explained, "The schedule that we've been given most recently today shows that if we are able to continue through the summer with the dredging, they expect to be completed with the project before Christmas which is another positive attribute of continuing the project through the summer. What we will do, as Gil said, is we'll monitor the progress of the project up until about May. At that point I'll come back to Council and make a recommendation" on whether to save money and continue dredging through the summer months or, "We've got to put this off. And that'll come back to you in May."
Wilcox said, "The sooner we can get that lake dredged to a deeper level, the better it will be able to handle stormwater and flooding issues around the town."
Wilcox said none of the events planned to take place at the lake this year will be impacted by the project.
DuBois said, "That was one of the main things. If we can continue it would definitely make a major impact for all of the houses and businesses around the lake for better flood control. We have all the pumps in place and we just have a bigger reservoir we can handle it unless it's a really significant category four or five storm. I think we can handle it without any flooding issues whatsoever." DuBois said an alternate route for the walking and bike path around the lake will be setup to permit pedestrians to walk around the construction area.