Posted on January 10, 2024
Due to bids that came in $14 million over budget, the Fort Myers Beach sand renourishment project will have to be rebid and the project will be delayed up to four months.
Coastal Engineering Consultants President Michael Poff told the Fort Myers Beach Town Council Monday that the bids came in so high because strict FDEP rules to protect birds and turtles provided contractors with a very tight work window to get the job done. Shorebird breeding season dates for this project area are February 15 through September 1st. FDEP permit conditions prohibit construction in the Critical Wildlife Area between March 1st and November 1st for Sea Turtle and Shorebird nesting. Poff said this created a window of less than 3 months for the contractor to construct the southern segment of the project and that caused the bids by two firms to come in so high. 3 other firms decided not to even bid on the project.
There is $22 million in local, county, state and federal money set aside for this project. The two bids that were submitted came in at $32 million.
As a result, all bids for the project will be rejected and the project will be sent out for new bids based on a new timeline allowing companies more flexibility to complete the job. This change also means the south end will no longer be first, which is not great news for the residents of Leonardo Arms. The town was hoping to start the renourishment project on the south end this month. However, the bidding bump in the road will move the south end of the project to September. Assuming bids come in at budget the goal is now to start renourishing the beach on the north end and mid-island in June, July and August.
Poff said by rejecting the two bids that came in way over budget, and putting the project out to bid with the new timeline, more bidders will submit at more competitive pricing “by eliminating operating constraints imposed by the mandated environmental windows.” The Fort Myers Beach Town Council followed Poff’s recommendation to reject the two high bids and prepare to send the project out to bid again utilizing the new timeline.
The approximately $22 Million beach renourishment project is being funded through multiple sources: Lee County ($6,431,534), The Florida Department of Environmental Protection ($14,013,346), FEMA ($1,408,050) and the town ($2,247,741).
The Estero Island Nourishment Project is a continuation of the town’s long term goal to maintain its critically eroding shoreline. Sand will be pumped from offshore onto the beach via pipes. The design beach will take approximately six months to construct. State and Federal permitting requires monitoring and tilling for several years after the sand is placed. In addition, the Town has obtained authorization for maintenance grading in the project area to maintain a positive grade for better drainage to reduce pooling on the beach for the life of the State permit, which is 15 years.
The town will continue to truck sand onto the beach to help fill scours and repair beach access points.