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Fenwick preparing to take bids for dredging project

Posted on March 12, 2024

Fenwick Island’s long-awaited channel dredging project in the Assawoman Bay continues to move forward, with town officials preparing to take bids for the project.

Dredging Committee Chair William Rymer said at the Friday, Feb. 23, town council meeting that the Town would finalize the “request for proposals,” or RFP, for the project this week and hopes to release the RFP packets next week, following legal review of the document.

The next step would be selecting a contractor for the project.

Rymer also said that there are some final details to be ironed out between the Town and the owner of the property where the dredged materials will be deposited.

He said cost estimates for the project have increased by “several hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Rymer said the “largest driver” for the estimated cost increases is the requirement that the Town use the state-approved prevailing wage rates. He said the Town had not been required to use prevailing wage rates in past projects, but because the dredging project includes $1million in state grants, that requirement is in place.

An additional requirement for contractors to be vetted and drug tested will also drive up the cost.

“We won’t know what the actual cost will be until we actually get the bids in,” Rymer said. Right now, he said, cost estimates are “guesswork.”

“We’re doing our best to figure it out.”

“I just wanted to alert the council to the possibility that we may be coming back and asking for additional funds,” Rymer said.

Although he lauded efforts by state Rep. Ron Gray (R-38th) to help the Town get the project moving forward, “Unfortunately, it sounds like we will not be able to get more funds in this state bond bill.”

Rymer said the committee plans to reach out to Sussex County officials for help in funding the project, since the project will benefit homeowners along the bay who are outside of town limits.

He said the committee hopes to start receiving bids by mid-April, and at that point he will come back to the council with a better idea of cost.


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