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Fenwick Group OK’s Dredge Support with contract to Anchor QEA

Posted on October 30, 2023

A Fenwick Island committee agreed this week to accept a $59,000 proposal from a Lewes-based engineering firm to support bidding work related to the town’s dredging project.

On Monday, the Fenwick Island Dredging Committee voted 6-0 to accept a $59,000 proposal from Anchor QEA. Steve Bagnull, project manager, said the document includes $4,000 for the firm to draft a temporary erosion sediment control plan and $55,000 for the firm to support the town’s bidding and RFP process for a long-awaited dredging project in the Little Assawoman Bay.

“We want to make sure it’s executed in a way that protects the town,” he said.

In June, the Town of Fenwick Island submitted three permit applications – one with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and two with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) – for a dredging project in the Little Assawoman Bay. The project calls for dredging roughly 19,000 cubic yards of material over 4,000 linear feet in the north and south channels.

With the third and final round of public notifications now underway, committee members this week began looking ahead to the bidding and RFP portion of the project.

“If all goes well, we’ll kick off the bidding and RFP process in January with the hope of selecting a dredge contractor in February,” Councilman Bill Rymer, committee chair, said Monday. “We’re hoping they hit the water in March for 60 to 75 days and have the project done before June 1.”

Rymer, however, told committee members several things must first happen in order for the town to begin the bidding process.

He noted the town must first finalize a land access agreement with Carl M. Freeman Companies, the owner of the Route 54 parcel that the town plans to deposit its dredged material on. He said the town must also receive its permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and DNREC. He said the public comment period for the third and final permit will close on Oct. 31.

“I’m expecting by the end of December at the latest, we will receive all comments related to our outstanding permits,” he said.

Rymer explained that Anchor QEA has submitted its proposal to provide bidding and RFP support once the process begins early next year. He said the town had used engineering firms in recent years to provide bidding support, with proposals ranging from $23,000 to $60,000.

“I stepped away thinking it’s a reasonable range,” he told the committee.

For his part, Bagnull said his company would not only compile and finalize design documents, but would seek bids, hold a pre-bid meeting, receive and valuate bids, and make a recommendation to the town.

“There are contractors that already have their eyes on this project,” he said.

Rymer said he hopes to have the land access agreement finalized in the next 30 days and permits finalized in the next 60 days. From there, the town can begin bidding work.

“This requires the dominos to line up …,” he said. “I’m excited, and it feels like we have a very clear path forward. Obviously, permits are a huge step for that.”

When asked about the dredging timeframe, Bagnull said the town could dredge at any time of year. Rymer noted, however, that the town would want to complete work in the Little Assawoman Bay by Memorial Day.

“We obviously want to be done before the summer boating season,” he said.

Rymer said plans to dredge the Little Assawoman Bay during the spring could also work in the town’s favor.

“There could be more folks available to do the dredging for us,” he said.

After further discussion, the committee voted 6-0, with member Jack Pyne absent, to accept a $59,000 proposal from Anchor QEA. The favorable recommendation will now be forwarded to the Mayor and Council for final approval.


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