By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council was informed at their Tuesday April 11th, meeting that a project underway to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake on South Lake Park Blvd is encountering some issues that have slowed progress. The project is approximately 30 days behind schedule.
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.
Dredging of the Carolina Beach Lake was scheduled to begin March 27th after two areas were constructed at the Town's waste water treatment plant off Dow Road to hold the material dredged from the lake. It's anticipated that approximately 1,000 truck loads of material will be hauled from the lake to those holding areas.
Currently the main construction area is across from the Hang Ten Grill on Atlanta Avenue in the area of the parking lot at the lake park.
During the Council's April 11th, meeting Town Manager Michael Cramer explained, "We did do soil samples and we did do tests and found out the soil material that was in there. However, as you know, you spot test for things like that. You don't test every couple of feet. What we found is an awful lot more organic material... before you get down to the good sand in the bottom of the lake. That is making us rethink how we go and handle getting the barge into the water, maneuvering it around and whether or not we need to go and try to excavate some things first or use another containment system to dry out some of the silt that's coming out of there before it goes in the truck."
He explained, "They did start moving some dirt today and doing some test digs out on the west side just to make sure they had the right soil test in those ares. We are right now working through our engineer with ways that we may be able to expedite the process. At this point they are looking at bringing in a barge and a backhoe with a cutter head on it. Similar to what you would use out in the [Carolina Beach] Inlet to go and clean the inlet out. It will be very similar to that. So we've had a few fits and starts with it. We are approximately thirty days behind but they are working towards trying to make sure that we don't get out there and get a large piece of machinery stuck in the middle of the lake."
Cramer explained, "They are not able to pull the organic material out. And we have found that I guess in previous years, twenty years ago or more, that the edges of the pond had been cleaned just using a backhoe whether appropriately or not. And we found a lot of the material has slipped off into some of those areas and that is the area that we are trying to start with to gain our foothold and that's making it very difficult to be in a foothold when it's all soup."
He explained, "Some of the challenges associated with digging in a more tropical climate I suppose."
Gil DuBois - Director of Operations - said last month the Town 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.
If permitted to work through the summer months, the project could be completed by mid December just in time for Christmas. 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.
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."