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2 Bids Received for Absecon Island Dune Construction Project

Posted on October 25, 2016

By Nanette LoBiondo GallowayShoreNewsToday

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received two bids Friday, Oct. 21 for the construction of sand dunes in Margate, Longport and the southernmost section of Ventnor.

Army Corps spokesman Steven Rochette said the bids were opened 11 a.m. in the Army Corps Philadelphia office, both from dredging companies that have worked in New Jersey before: Weeks Marine of Covington, Louisiana; and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Oak Brook, Illinois.

“Apparently the low bidder was Weeks Marine,” said Rochette, who declined to state the exact bid amounts.

The Absecon Island project includes building sand dunes and raising the beach in Margate and Longport, and completing an unfinished portion of dune in the south end of Ventnor. It also includes beach renourishment in Atlantic City and Ventnor where dunes were built in 2007, and building pedestrian crossovers and outfall pipes, he said.

“The next step is to evaluate and verify the bids in the next few weeks, before the contract is awarded. After that, we will negotiate timelines and work schedules before issuing a notice to proceed,” he said.

The notice to proceed starts the clock running on the “period of performance,” which is 310 days, Rochette said.

Great Lakes is currently building dunes on Long Beach Island and is due to start two projects in Cape May County, Rochette said.

Both companies were the only bidders in the first go-around of bidding for the project. In that round, submitted Oct. 28, 2014, Great Lakes was the low bidder by $7.8 million with a $40,979,819 bid.

Meanwhile, the city of Margate, where many officials and residents did not want dunes to be built, was suing the Army Corps and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to halt the project. The suit challenged the legality of the state’s process of acquiring easements via administrative orders filed at the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office Oct. 1, 2014.

The original bids were extended twice while the court case went on.

Under deadline to award a contract by Feb. 25, 2015, the Army Corps canceled the bid solicitation Feb. 24 because of the lawsuit and because the DEP had yet to acquire the easements needed to start the project.

Great Lakes filed a complaint with the U.S. Government Accountability Office protesting the cancellation of the bid. The complaint was denied June 8 on the grounds that the legal challenges to the real estate acquisitions for the project had not been resolved, and “award of the contract under pending litigation would pose a significant risk to the government,” according to the decision published by the comptroller general.

Rochette said Weeks Marine completed a renourishment project in Atlantic City and Ventnor in 2012.

The federal government is funding 100 percent of the cost of building dunes along the entire New Jersey coast through the federal Sandy Relief Act.

Source: ShoreNewsToday

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