Ocean City Today

Design phase to proceed for Boardwalk barriers

Additional expense seen as saving on construction costs
By Greg Ellison | Jan 11, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison

(Jan. 12, 2018) Even though the design of vehicle access controls for the Boardwalk will cost almost twice the initial estimates, the City Council agreed on Tuesday to pay Hunt Valley-based engineering firm JMT more than $155,000 to begin a two-phase project in time to ensure enhanced protection this summer.

In mid-November, the council appropriated $80,000 from fund balance to solicit bids for the design aspect of the public-safety focused project, which calls for barricades at 36 access points along the 2.25-mile Boardwalk.

City Engineer Terry McGean said the scope of the work is unique and his rough $80,000 “back-of-napkin,” estimate, judging by the four bids received in mid-December, was off the mark.

“While there was one near that budgeted amount, the vendor essentially was a cyber security contractor,” he said. “While cyber security is wonderful, that’s not really what we need for the Boardwalk.”

After evaluating each proposal, with assistance from OCPD Lt. Elton Harmon, McGean said JMT was deemed most qualified.

“They are currently doing a very similar project at the Inner Harbor, so we feel very confident in their qualifications,” he said. “You spend the money on design and you save the money on construction – if you have good consultants.”

With design bids ranging from $79,510 on the low end to $179,000 on the high side, McGean said price was not the sole factor considered.

“Typically, we weigh the professional qualifications higher than the price,” he said. “When you’re talking about design, it’s a small percentage of construction [cost], but the quality of the design can truly drive the constriction costs.”

Councilwoman Mary Knight asked if vehicle access controls would be in place for the upcoming summer season.

McGean gave a qualified yes, noting the two-phase project would provide a combination of permanent and temporary measures for this year.

“This season you may see some things that are not the most physically attractive, but are getting the job done before we can get the full thing for 2019,” he said.

McGean also recommended including the additional $75,000 for design work into the overall project cost, which could be discussed during fiscal 2019 budget deliberations in April.

“The $80,000 already appropriated … we believe that will take us through this fiscal year,” he said. “That will take us through preliminary design and a cost estimate.”

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