City team members participated in a pre-construction meeting this week to go over plans for an $11.5 million project to rebuild beaches at the northern end of the island. The work will add at least 930,000 cubic yards of sand between Seaspray Road and 12th Street and stockpile more for rebuilding dunes in areas near Fifth Street and 10th Street. Surveys to be conducted in the next few weeks could add to the scope of the project and could potentially extend the project area by a block or two. The work will begin by the end of October and is expected to take approximately 50 days and be complete by January 2018 at the latest.
The work will be powered by the 305-foot cutter section dredge Texas, which will pump sand from a borrow area about a mile off Great Egg Harbor Inlet. The pipeline from the dredge will land on the beach at Morningside Road. Crews will work north of this spot first, then proceed south. A work area of approximately 1,000 feet will be closed to beachgoers and move down the beach as the work progresses.
This is the eighth Army Corps of Engineers renourishment project since an initial restoration in the 1990s. I want to thank our partners at the federal and state levels, who will pay more than 90 percent of the job’s cost. These projects are absolutely vital to the protection of property in Ocean City. The south end also remains on schedule for replenishment sometime in late 2018 or early 2019.
In a separate project, a contractor is mobilizing pipeline for hydraulic dredging at Carnival Bayou (between W. 16th Street and W. 17th Street). Work is expected to start by Oct. 16. The contractor is authorized to dredge private slips once the city contract is complete. The state Department of Transportation will contribute about $1.2 million of the project’s estimated $1.6 million cost. A contract for the mechanical dredging of Sunny Harbor and South Harbor is scheduled to be awarded on Oct. 12. “Site 83” off Roosevelt Boulevard has been successfully emptied and restored, so we should be in good position for a continued dredging program in 2018.
Construction on our boardwalk reconstruction project will begin on Monday, Oct. 16. The area between 10th Street and 12th Street will be closed at that time with pedestrians and bicyclists being detoured. You may see city crews removing lampposts and benches the week before. The contractor, Fred M. Schiavone Construction, has worked on three other phases of the multiyear project. They’ve done good work, and let’s pray for good weather as they work to reopen the boardwalk by March 2018. This is the fifth and final phase of work to completely rebuild the substructure and decking at the heart of the Ocean City Boardwalk between Fifth Street and 12th Street. The work will be complete two years ahead of the original schedule.
Cape May County will resume construction on the 34th Street Bridge on Tuesday, Oct. 10. The bridge will close overnight from 10 p.m. Oct. 9 through 5 a.m. Oct. 10 to allow crews to set up the single-lane alternating traffic pattern that will be in effect through the off-season.
I learned this week that the state Department of Environmental Protection is working with us on an expedited permit modification for our north end drainage project. We remain on target to award a contract for this important work by the end of the year. Contractors continue to make good progress on our Fourth Ward drainage project. Check here for the latest update.
Finally, I’d like to remind you about two different events this weekend.
The annual Walk for the Wounded will be held on Saturday. The event benefits wounded soldiers and their families, and it’s seen great support from the community in its nine years here in Ocean City. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Music Pier. A ceremony honoring soldiers is at 9:30 a.m., and the three-mile walk begins at 10 a.m.
The Ocean City Restaurant Association’s new Chili and Chowder Festival returns to the Ocean City Music Pier for its second year from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1. If last year is any indication, you can count on some great food and a great time.
Jay A. Gillian