Ocean City Today

Three canal dredging projects get green light

Work will cost significantly lower than budgeted, using excess funds still uncertain
By Greg Ellison | Jan 11, 2018

(Jan. 12, 2018) Although Ocean City budgeted much more than the $271,000 awarded for a trio of canal dredging projects during the City Council work session on Tuesday, using the surplus funds to improve additional canals is contingent on finding a new site to dump mounds of sand and silt.

City Engineer Terry McGean said four bids were opened during the council meeting on Dec. 18, with Berlin-based Brittingham Construction & Landscape submitting the lowest price at more than $271,000.

The project includes canals 54 and 57 in the Caine Woods neighborhood in north Ocean City, as well as canal 2A, located just south of Teal Drive near 15th Street.

When the council received the Brittingham bid in December, which was markedly lower than the $450,000 budgeted for the work, the matter was remanded to staff in hopes other pending canal projects could be included.

After researching the matter further, McGean told the council Tuesday the seemingly bargain priced bid was the result of providing a dumpsite nearby.

“One of the reasons bids have been so low, and so competitive, is we have been very fortunate to have leased a material placement site that was very convenient,” he said. “The trucking costs have been very low.”

The current placement site lease cost $25,000 for a five-year period, McGean said, with dumping permitted for three years, with the final two years reserved to permit soil leaching prior to renewed agricultural uses.

“That placement site is going to be full based on just the canals you’re awarding now,” he said. “Our challenge right now is to find another placement site that is as convenient, or close to convenient, as we have now. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.”

This summer McGean sent out request for proposals to commercial real estate agents and businesses with oversize parcels.

“I got a lot of nibbles, but when the day came I got no firm proposals,” he said. “We need about six acres … zoned for industrial or agricultural. The closer to Ocean City for us the better.”

Councilman Matt James asked if the dredge materials are mostly sand based.

“For some canals its sandy [and] for some canals its very silty,” McGean said.

Following a winter storm a few years back, McGean said crews tried placing dredge materials on the beach, but the results were less than satisfactory.

“Even though it was sandy, we wound up having to mix it in and bury it,” he said. “It never did leach out the way we hoped.”

Other options being explored for future material placement sites include the old Lewis Road Landfill, as well as discussions to work with Worcester County.

“The original thought was to use the airport infield, but the FAA has just flat out said they will not take dredge material,” he said. “Also the low bidder may have a site, so we’re looking at a lot of different things.”

Councilman Wayne Hartman made a motion to accept the bid recommendations.

“I think its an attractive price, and there’s a lot of benefits to dredging the canals,” he said.

Councilman Tony DeLuca seconded the motion and said there are value added components to the projects.

“It seems like there’s a budget opportunity to be made and this really improves property values every time we can dredge a canal,” he said.

The council voted unanimously to accept the bid recommendation with the understanding unused funds could be allocated for future canal projects contingent on securing a placement site and obtaining proper permitting.

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