Ocean City Today

Higher costs nixes proposed Public Works parking garage

Multi-faceted project was budgeted at roughly $28M while bids were near $34M
By Greg Ellison | Feb 15, 2018

(Feb. 16, 2018) Planned upgrades to the Public Works 65th Street Complex have been scaled back after bids on the project received last month came in more than 20 percent over budget.

At the City Council work session on Tuesday, Public Works Director Hal Adkins presented amended plans for the multi-phased project that was originally estimated to cost approximately $28 million.

“It came in more so around $34 million,” he told the council.

Before holding a bid opening at mass transit headquarters in Baltimore on Jan.9, Adkins had been forewarned that statewide prices were jumping on average by 10 percent.

“The economy has come roaring back, the construction industry has come roaring back … therefore prices are starting to escalate,” he said.

In light of fiscal concerns, Adkins broke the project into two separate bid packages.

“One was the multi-story parking facility with a medevac landing zone on the roof and the other bid was everything else,” he said.

Included in the larger pile are a two-story administration building, bus storage and washing facilities, two fuel depots, and a money-processing center.

Adkins noted the project stemmed from a decade-long partnership with Maryland Mass Transit and the Federal Transit Authority.

“We have reached the point now where we are actually ready to break ground,” he said.

Following a closed session council meeting on Feb. 5, the decision was made to reject bids for the parking facility and prepare a new design bid for a parking lot with guardhouse.

Meanwhile, the low bid for the larger project from Harkins Construction is under review by Ocean City and Mass Transit staff to assure its compliance with state requirements.

“I am optimistic that they will be successful in doing so and we will be position to award them the contract with the MTA’s concurrence,” he said.

The city is aiming to award the contact no later than March 9, the last day of a required 60-day price freeze for received bids.

“If all goes well, we will actually break ground sometime in April,” he said.

Adkins also said the work would be divided into phases.

“We have a very active complex [and] we can’t just shut down and build all at one time,” he said.

The initial phase would include building additional maintenance bays for the fleet of articulating buses, Adkins said.

The next phase would likely begin around November and would include elements planned to be directly behind the public safety building, Adkins said.

Although plans for the parking facility have been halted as a momentary cost-cutting measure, Adkins said the need for such a structure remain.

“Over the last two years, we did a detailed parking analysis,” he said.

Factoring in current parking, potential losses and future needs, Adkins said the study identified a future deficiency of 318 parking spaces.

“We used that [data] to size the facility,” he said.

This week Adkins will begin drawing plans for the parking lot, but hopes that it will be replaced eventually by the garage.

“We are not giving up the future of a parking facility and a medevac landing zone,” he said. “I don’t like to give up on anything.”

Adkins said if future funding becomes available, the surface parking lot would be easy to prepare for a multi-story facility.

“I already have the design … we just don’t have the money to do it at this time,” he said.

Despite the revisions, Adkins said the project still has long-term value.

“It will fulfill the majority of your mass transit and public works needs for many years to come,” he said.

Over the next few years, Adkins plans to continue looking for funds for a multi-story parking facility.

“I really think this town needs a permanent medevac site and this is the ideal solution,” he said. “I’m not ready to give up.”


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