Officials Await Second Bid for Beach Project

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Posted November 27, 2018

Carteret County received only one bid for a major beach nourishment project planned for this winter, and will have to wait a couple weeks to see if another comes in before officials can consider awarding a contract.

Greg Rudolph, manager of the County Shore Protection Office, said the only firm that submitted a bid by the deadline Tuesday was Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. of Illinois.

According to state statute, Mr. Rudolph said late Tuesday afternoon after the 4 p.m. deadline, “we have to re-advertise the bid solicitation for seven days from when the notice appears in the newspaper.

“To be extra safe in terms of contract law, we’re going to have a second and final bid opening on (Tuesday,) Dec. 4.”

That meeting will be at 1 p.m. in the conference room of the Emerald Isle administration building on the south side of Highway 58.

The bid documents were released Oct. 19, a little more than a month after Hurricane Florence robbed Bogue Banks of millions of cubic yards of sand.

Mr. Rudolph warned last month that the chance of getting the necessary three bids for a document opening and bid award Tuesday was only about 50-50.

He cited the same odds for next month after Tuesday’s failed bid opening.

The county, he said this week, still hopes to get an awardable bid in time to issue a “notice to proceed” on the work in mid-January.

A bid can be awarded after the Dec. 4 opening, even if there’s only one, Mr. Rudolph said.

But, he has added, it’s by no means certain the county will get a bid within budget, which is about $17.5 million. The Great Lakes bid couldn’t be opened Tuesday under state law. It’s possible, he added, that whatever that bid was, it might go higher by Dec. 4, since it was the only one.

Officials, he said Tuesday, “had a long discussion … concerning ways to possibly secure another bid for the project, possibly by modifying our liquidated damages clauses.”

In the end, county and town officials involved in the project decided “we need to protect ourselves and the industry schedule is the industry schedule – hopper dredge availability is sparse,” Mr. Rudolph said.

The nourishment project was originally planned for eastern Emerald Isle, Indian Beach/Salter Path and Pine Knoll Shores, but Pine Knoll Shores was dropped for cost considerations earlier this year, prior to the storm.

Now, however, the project has changed, with more sand added for eastern Emerald Isle and Indian Beach/Salter Path to make up for sand lost because of Hurricane Florence.

The total project would include 945,500 cubic yards of sand, 178,100 square yards of dune planting and possibly some sea turtle trawling and relocation.

The county has estimated the project cost at $17,498,135.

The county’s beach nourishment fund, which gets half of the revenue from the county’s occupancy tax, would fund most of the project, but Emerald Isle, Indian Beach and the county’s general fund (Salter Path is unincorporated) would each pay a share based on the proportionate amount of sand they receive.

In addition, the county and the towns will be trying to get sand replacement cost reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In Emerald Isle alone, former Town Manager Frank Rush, whose last day was Wednesday, previously said he planned to ask FEMA to reimburse the town $40 million for the cost of replacing 2.2 million cubic yards of sand lost to the storm.

According to Mr. Rudolph, Emerald Isle, with 12 miles of beach, lost by far the most sand during Florence. But Indian Beach/Salter Path lost about 445,000 cubic yards, Pine Knoll Shores lost 576,000 and Atlantic Beach, which is not eligible for FEMA reimbursement because it gets free sand from dredging of the state port at Morehead City, lost about 400,000 cubic yards.

All of those figures are based on a post-Florence survey by Moffatt & Nichol, the county’s beach engineering firm.

All total, estimates for FEMA reimbursement requests in Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores and Salter Path/Indian Beach could go as high as $59 million or slightly more, based on an estimated figure of $18.51 per cubic yard.

At any rate, if the county gets an awardable bid, a project could begin in the winter and end in early spring.

If that doesn’t happen, the county could wait for a decision from FEMA on reimbursement and go for a single project in the winter of 2019-20, encompassing all 18 miles of beach from the western tip of Emerald Isle to the Atlantic Beach-Pine Knoll Shores border, hopefully using FEMA money.

That would incorporate the entire 3.2 million cubic yards of Florence loss in the stretch, which excludes Atlantic Beach and Fort Macon State Park.

Source: Carteret County News-Times