Carolina Beach Council Votes To Resume Lake Dredging Project

Carolina Beach Council Votes To  Resume Lake Dredging Project

Carolina Beach Council Votes To Resume Lake Dredging Project Featured

By / Local News / الأربعاء, 18 تموز/يوليو 2018 17:58

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Carolina Beach Town Manager Michael Cramer presented options during the Town Council's June 26th, workshop meeting for completing a project to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake.

During the Council's July 10th, meeting the Council voted to move forward with a plan to complete the project.

Dredging was suspended August 29th, 2017 when the U.S. Army demanded the Town stop hauling dirt to land leased to the Town since the 1970's for a wastewater treatment plant off Dow Road.  The Town was placing the dirt at an unapproved location on the property. Now the Town is searching for alternate locations.

The Council held a workshop on April 24th to discuss the future of the $2.7 million dollar project to finish dredging the lake as well as the cost of disposing of material already removed from the lake being held on Army property off Dow Road.

The Town Council previously voted unanimously to terminate a contract with Civil Works Contracting to dredge the lake  during their December 12th, meeting.

In October the Town was notified that owners of one alternate location changed their minds about taking on the material following soil tests which showed higher levels of arsenic. That land is located north of Snow's Cut Bridge in the undeveloped portion  of a new residential neighborhood.

During the April 24th, meeting the Council wanted more detailed information on options ranging from leaving the remaining material in the lake, finishing the project, and exploring the use of Town land located north of Snow's Cut Bridge off River Road behind property owned by the U.S. Coast Guard. That plan would require building a road across the Coast Guard property to access the Town's property.

The goal of the project was to make the lake deeper to a consistent depth of 6' to 8' feet and improve capacity to hold approximately 16 million gallons of storm water runoff that has traditionally caused flooding of surrounding properties and roadways. The total volume to be removed from the lake was estimated to be approximately 83,000 cubic yards of material. The original completion date for the project was scheduled for February 9th, 2018. When the project was suspended August 29th, the contractor had removed approximately 30,000 cubic yards of material to the wastewater treatment plant.

On Monday June 11th, Cramer updated Council explaining that in April the Council gave him direction to research completing the project and removing the remaining soil from the lake.

Cramer explained, "That option suggested that the cost of such a project would be between $2.2 million and $4 million dollars depending on the location we dispose of the soil. Council also directed that I discuss this option with some contractors and develop a revised budget that may be closer to the true cost of the project. This has not been an easy task. Contractors are reluctant to give us any budget or order of magnitude numbers for the project. Primarily the reasoning involved not knowing the terms and conditions for the contract, the reduction in volume, the change in the disposal site and hauling requirements, and the additional work of constructing an access road and the clearing and grading required to prepare the disposal site which was not part of the original project. These are all items that need to be solidified before we can produce a formal bid."

He explained, "It would seem the most accurate information we have right now are the previous bids. The per cubic yard costs that we received during our previous bidding process. We have approximately 50,480 cubic yards of material to remove from the lake."

He explained, "We have received one estimate from another contractor that suggested a $36.00 cubic yard cost.  Please keep in mind that these costs do not include building the access road, clearing or grubbing the property, permits, surveying or engineering required for the disposal site. I have requested some budget numbers for building the access road and clearing and grubbing the property and should have those numbers soon.  Permits is expected to cost $5,000 and the survey and engineering work for the entire project is anticipated at $115,000."

Cramer explained, "Following the April 24th workshop, I sent the Environmental Report for the town owned property behind the US Coast Guard LORAN station to the Coast Guard and requested an easement through their property to our property. The Coast Guard will not give a permanent easement across their property, but are willing to give a temporary access for the project. The access easement would be approximately 2,800 feet long and 50 ft wide.  In this easement the town would need to develop a road to transport trucks to our property. The access road would be approximately 20 ft wide and will require some fence and gate installation as required by the Coast Guard.  I have contacted our Coast Guard representative weekly since sending the required documents to them for review. The report has been forwarded on to their environmental division for review and approval. The environmental division has no specific time line for when the review may be complete, but I have stressed the urgency of the situation.  Once the environmental review is complete the easement may need to be surveyed, easement documents will need to be drafted and signed by both parties.  As soon as we get a tentative approval from the Coast Guard we can contract with SEPI Engineering to begin the surveying of our property to determine the exact amount of material that could be placed on site and  develop the permits required to permit the facility."

He explained, "It is at this point we will have enough information to update the plans and specs and go out for formal bids.  Right now we are at the mercy of the Coast Guard and their time lines.  There is one way that I could expedite the project.  I could contract with SEPI to perform the survey work related to the easement and our property before we get approval from the Coast Guard. That is risky, since we will be spending funds on a location that we might not get access too. However, if we don’t get a formal bid out in July and get return bids by August it will be unlikely we will be able to get the project moving in November. If I contract with SEPI it will cost approximately $37,785, which would come out of the $1,458,898 remaining for the project."

On June 18th, Cramer said that some of the dredge material has already been removed from the Army property and used for a new Island Greenway project that includes an asphalt bike and pedestrian path on Army property leading from Mike Chappel Park on Dow Road south to Alabama Avenue on the border of neighboring Kure Beach. He said the Army approved use of the dredge dirt in constructing the path and that using that material saved the Town approximately $42,000 for the overall project cost.

The total estimated cost to build a temporary road across the Coast Guard property to the Town's land off River Road north of Snow's Cut Bridge is estimated at $186,673. The total estimated cost to compete excavation of the remaining material in the lake, including development of the disposal site, engineering and excavation, is $1,612,558 to $2,520,693.

One short term option approved by the Army is to move material already on the property from one location to another location on the property that was previously approved as a brown field for disposal. The material would still have to be removed within three to five years. Cramer explained Tuesday June 19th, that cost could be as low as $60,000 after he recently spoke to a contractor that expressed a desire to buy the dirt from the Town.

The Army has given the Town a time line of three to five years for complete removal of the dredge material already placed on Army land.

The total estimated cost for removal of the remaining dirt on the property and completing the project ranges from $3,146,198 to $4,054,333. Cramer said the difference is due to reluctance of contractors to give firm cost figures because of the time-frame and other logistics.

During the July 10th, meeting Cramer explained he's been working on the option of placing dredge material on the property located behind the Coast Guard property off River Road. He explained, "At this point, the development of the disposal location behind the Loran Station, we've already started that process and it will take us up to and through what I'm guessing to be October for us to get that completed. Meaning getting any of the permits. Have the road, whether it's mulch or gravel or whatever we end up with in the end, installed and ready for us to go and move and haul material over it and the clearing of our site, that four acre piece of property. So we're looking at October before we get to that point where it can be usable."

He explained, "The lake excavation is another area that has been very difficult to get cost numbers on" and, "When we went out for bid for the 83,000 cubic yards of material we received three bidders... and they bid anywhere between $26 and $44 dollars per cubic yard of material to move it from the lake to MOTSU [Army's Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point]. Now what we will be asking them to do is move 50,000 cubic yards of material from the lake to the Loran Station property which is about twice as far as going to MOTSU. So naturally you except that you will have more in the way of cost for trucking and so fourth. But I've gone out and talked not only to these three vendors but a couple of other vendors and they are very reluctant to give us budget cost information without seeing the actual bid package. Because the way that you write a bid package may include insurance and it may include bonding and things of that nature and that drives up the cost for a bidder. So they like to see that hard and fast bid document before they give you a cost."

He explained, "So this is really the best estimate that I have right now is going off of what we received previously and extrapolating it out for the full 50,000 cubic yards. And that's anywhere between $1.3 and $2.2 million dollars to remove and haul that 50,000 cubic yards from the lake to our property next to the Loran Station" off River Road.

Cramer said surveys will have to be done accurately tell companies bidding on the project how much material will be moved. He said, "These are our estimates at this point but we are going to have to do a survey and prepare the contract documents and go through that process. So there is an extensive process in trying to start up the project again from an engineering standpoint. Then of course we have contract administration which is our engineer company that has prepared all of this being able to follow through and watch the contractor as the project progresses. The total engineering cost are approximately $76,000. So when you look at this number, it's a range, anywhere between $1.6 and $2.5 million dollars to remove the remaining portion of the material that's in the lake."

He explained, "If we get going and do this in a timely fashion, we could start in November or December and be completed at the latest by July. Our goal is to complete it in four months. What I'm a little bit hesitant to do is to throw out a number that says it's going to be four months and it takes six months. We hope that we will be able to go and put the information in the bid documents so we can get a better estimate. That's really what you want, you want the contractor to give you the estimate on time."

On the topic of selling the dredge material already placed on Army property to a contractor who will haul it away,  Council member Leann Pierce said, "From my point of view, if you can find somebody that will come and get it and get it fast, I don't care if we give it to them."
She said, "Let them take the money they were going to pay us and they can hire somebody to load their trucks and rent equipment to load it."

Cramer explained, "I mentioned the potential cost for the projects. Phase One of the project cost us approximately $1.4 million dollars. Now that is not just in the excavation and the hauling. That is also the engineering that we had to do and any clean up type work that we had to do. There are a few other items in there that are added on. Now at the workshop the Council had some questions about specifically what items those were and I can get you a detailed breakout of every item if you like on what makes up that $1.4 million. But basically it is $1.2 million dollars and some change in the actual dredging and hauling of the material and then the additional funds are from engineering and miscellaneous things like environmental tests that we've done."

Cramer said he estimates that Phase Two will complete the dredging project and will cost, "Anywhere between the $1.6 and the $2.5 million and that all depends on what bids we get back in at the time." He said, "All told, the project cost overall would be somewhere between $3.1 and $4 million dollars. That's our estimate and our engineers estimate off the information we have."

Cramer said, "Our original budget for this project was $2.9 million dollars. We've spent the $1.4 million already. We have a remaining balance of another $1.4 and like I said, our project estimates are anywhere between $1.6 and $2.5 million dollars. Which means we would need an additional resource to cover the estimate of anywhere between $202,000 and $1.1 million. Part of  where we can get that, with Gil's work and his staff's work in working on Phase B of our water, sewer, storm water and roadway infrastructure projects, they were able to do more work because we had emergency repairs that Council authorized us to do, in the same amount of time but for less dollars than the contract stipulated."

He explained, "The way they did that is, field changes. Our project manager was out in the field all the time and if they saw something and said, you know what we could do this with a 24" pipe instead of a 36" pipe and the engineer cleared that, then we did that and it was a cost savings. Our the Town staff took on the responsibility of cutting in valves because we had the valve machine and the contractor was charging $10,000 to cut in a valve and we can do it for $1,000. So we were able to save money in various field changes and management practices. So we have approximately $480,000 left in that project account and the project has been completed."

Cramer explained, "My recommendation is, that would be where we would utilize some of these resources for this project of the second phase of the lake dredging. Depending on how much we actually need and what the bids come in at we could either still have $277,000 of funds leftover that could go towards other projects that Council dictates that are water, sewer and storm water related or we might need to go and do a loan for the other $630,000."

He said, "Our goal is that we  would go out for bid for 21 to 28 days and we would start September the 1st. We get those bids in, review them with the engineers, make sure they are accurate and put it on the Council agenda for October the 9th... and if they are within the ballpark for our costs, you can chose to award that contract or deny if they are too high or don't meet the specifications you want exactly. If everything goes well, we sign contracts and begin construction in December and have everything completed - like I said, our goal would be April - but worst case scenario, somewhere in the June and July 1, time frame for the project to be completed."

Mayor Joe Benson requested a weekly update stating, "Just a weekly update on how we are moving towards that. A little bit of expectation management not just from the contractor, from commencement of work, mobilization, demobilization and when we're done. That will definitely help."

Mayor Benson made a motion to proceed with Cramer's recommendation to complete the dredging project.

The Council voted unanimously to approve his motion.

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