Council to Vote on Paying Full Price for Unfinished Dredging Work

Council to Vote on Paying Full Price for Unfinished Dredging Work

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Shallow water at low tide on the bay near West 17th Street in Ocean City. Credit: George Robinson

City Council on Thursday will consider a resolution that would pay a dredging contractor full price for an unfinished job.

Council will vote on authorizing a final payment that would close out a $1,829,655 contract with Hydro-Marine Construction Company of Hainesport, NJ, to dredge shallow lagoons and channels between 15th and 34th streets.

The final payment represents a $10,234 increase over the original contract price of $1,819,422.

The contractor did not complete work on the contract by the end of a permitting window on Dec. 31, 2012, and was scheduled to resume work to complete the job on July 1, 2013. But the contractor never returned.

The dredging company did not finish work at Carnival Bayou Lagoon (between 16th and 17th streets) or at parts of Venetian Bayou Lagoon (between 17th and 18th streets) and Clubhouse Lagoon (between Waterway Road and Clubhouse Drive).

Hydro-Marine Construction removed 73,000 cubic yards of dredged material under a contract that called for the dredging of 106,000 cubic yards, according to Ocean City Community Operations Director Roger McLarnon.

But through no fault of the contractor, the site where the dredge spoils were permitted to be dumped did not have as much capacity as was originally estimated, McLarnon said Wednesday.

The final contract figure was reduced for the dredging work that was not completed but increased for extra work in preparing the spoils site to accept the material that was able to be pumped there, he said. The net was about the same $1.8 million that the contract called for.

The city gave a separate company, Duffield Associates of Cape May Court House, a $194,634 contract to engineer and design the project and provide permitting services. Duffield was not the low bidder on the project but was awarded a professional services contract based, in part, on the company’s reputation for good work.

The resolution that City Council will consider on Thursday does not address Duffield’s contract or its work in assessing the spoils site.

Identification of a viable spoils site (place to dump dredged material) remains the biggest obstacle to continued dredging of shallow lagoons in Ocean City. The sites are subject to strict environmental regulations.

Much of the route of Saturday’s Night in Venice boat parade — one of Ocean City’s signature events — remains impassable to boat traffic at low tide.

Mayor Jay Gillian’s administration included $250,000 for the 2013 dredging of two lagoons (Snug Harbor and Glen Cove on either side of Ninth Street) in a five-year capital plan released in December 2012. But the city had no place to put the dredged material.

The city is seeking permission to expand a small spoils site near the Route 52 causeway, according to McLarnon.

At the same time, the city is working on several other fronts to identify new spoils sites (see detail).

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