Ocean City will spend about $2.7 million to start bringing boating and swimming at low tide back to the bay.
In a unanimous vote Thursday with no discussion, City Council awarded a $2,689,000 contract to Wickberg Marine Contracting Inc. of Belford, N.J., to remove material from an approved dredging disposal site in the marshes near the 34th Street causeway.
Many bayside lagoons and channels are extremely shallow or dry during the hours surrounding low tide, and all work to dredge the bay to make it deeper has been at a standstill since 2012. That’s when a dredging contractor had to stop in the middle of a job, because the city’s only approved spoils site was filled to capacity.
The new contract calls for Wickberg Marine to haul material away from the site to make room for new dredging projects.
“This resolution is going to get us started. We’ve been stuck in the mud a little bit,” Mayor Jay Gillian said, apologizing for the pun.
The mayor said city officials met last Friday with regulators from the state Department of Environmental Protection and federal Army Corps of Engineers officials to continue to discuss more cost-effective and environmentally safe ways to dispose of dredged material.
The $2.7 million contract would free up only 40,000 cubic yards and include no actual dredging.
By comparison, the 2012 project that was never completed removed 73,000 cubic yards of dredged material under a $1.8 million contract that called for the dredging of 106,000 cubic yards between 15th and 34th streets. The mayor estimated earlier this year that it would take 300,000 cubic yards to dredge Ocean City from “tip to tip.”
Gillian said the new work would allow the city to “finish what we started” between 15th and 34th streets, as the city works with regulators to figure out a way to make spoils sites more truck accessible.
The contractor will have to move spoils from the site by barge and take it to Wildwood, where it will be used to help cap a landfill. Wildwood will accept the material with the contractor paying $14 a cubic yard.
City Council has approved $5 million ($4.75 million of it to be borrowed) in spending for dredging this year. If the contract is approved, that would leave $2.3 million for actual dredging work. T
A separate spoils site near the Ninth Street Bridge is approved, but for an amount (4,000 to 6,000 cubic yards) far less than what Ocean City had anticipated.e reconstructed as part of a multiyear project between Fifth and 12th streets, but will need to be strong enough to accommodate trucks and heavy equipment headed for the Music Pier.